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Let me tell you what I love about social media.

I have, under my real name and persona, several social media accounts – Google+, Twitter, and Instagram to name the ones I use most. I follow some of my favorite authors on these entities, reposting and commenting on their activity as occasion warrants. None of them know me from Adam’s off ox, but it doesn’t matter. When one of them responds to me or favorites a tweet or just in general recognizes my existence, it’s like getting a nod from the coolest kid in school.

Sometimes I wonder if any of them have visited my own account(s) as a matter of curiosity. I mean, if I were responding to a comment, I’d want to know who it is that I’m responding to – to make sure I’m not conversing with a crazy person. Seems reasonable to me. If anyone were to check out my profile, they’d likely see a whole lot of nothing in the way of published work. I keep believing that someday there will actually BE published work, but until then I’m just toiling along in obscurity. I’m also not working very hard at accomplishing published work, since practical realities like a real job and real parenting seem to have the forefront at the moment. I can only hope for a long life at this point.

But the thing I love about social media is that it gives me access to my favorite contemporary authors in a way that 20 years ago was unheard of, unthought of. Sure, it removes them from a pedestal in many ways, and frankly, that’s great. It makes them a real person in my estimation. It makes me feel like it’s possible for me, at some point, to be a real person with a real life and still eventually be published.

Like I said, I can only hope for a long life.

— Mox

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I’ve made it no secret that Spawn’s dyslexia is a constant source of frustration, for me and for Spawn.  When Spawn was an infant, when I would read those interminable board (bored?) books at bedtime, I held a fantasy in my head about the day when we would share a love for books and great conversation about what we were reading.  “Goodnight Moon” was in no way satisfying to the soul and I could hardly wait to introduce the kid to the books I had loved as a child, some of which I have kept all these years in the anticipation of having a child someday.  I suppose in many ways I was anxious to live my childhood over again, only this time to “get it right.”

By the time Spawn was a preschooler, we (I) had graduated to reading more stimulating fare — Dr. Seuss.  The good Dr. was my first reading teacher, the books that I decoded on my own at age four, and the books that my parents had saved for many years.  I worked hard at giving Seuss’ words some life, because the best reader is one that can read with inflection, and boy, did those tweedle beetles ever battle.  Perhaps I did too good a job, because Spawn never showed any interest in picking up those books to try and decode the things I was reading at bedtime.  Far better, I suppose, to listen to the saga of Green Eggs and Ham as related by someone who can really punch it up.  (Little did I realize that my high school speech team coach would have such far-reaching effect on my reading aloud, all this time later.)

Conventional wisdom indicates that children learn to read up until third grade, constantly refining their skills as the years pass; from fourth grade on, there is more emphasis on reading to learn.  And even though I knew from first grade on that Spawn was struggling with a reading disability, I was anxious for the kid to make some progress in this area, knowing that starting in fourth grade, things were going to get intense.  Thank goodness that even in this podunk town, we were able to find a tutor who specialized in Orton-Gillingham based reading tutoring, and while it’s expensive as all get-out, it’s been worth every penny.  Spawn can read.  Maybe not as fluently as I could at that age, but the kid can decode and piece together a string of ideas, and is making progress, however slowly but steadily, toward better fluency.

Of course this means that I’ve had to repeatedly adjust my expectations.  For Planny McPlannerson, that’s a tall order.  But I’ve done it because I recognize (most of the time) the things that I can change and the things that I can’t.  Where the frustration comes in is the realization that Spawn isn’t me, that living my childhood over again, reading-wise, isn’t happening.  I want it, and Spawn wants it because I want it.  And I’m trying really hard not to want it as badly as I do, but fantasies are sometimes difficult to let go of.

The fact that they went and made Charlotte’s Web into a movie is not helping, though I was one of the first ones to go see it because that was the book that started me off on a lifelong love of literature (the august Dr. Seuss notwithstanding).  Spawn’s theory is, why read the book if there’s going to be a movie eventually?

All those books I’ve saved over the years, the EB Whites and the Marguerite Henrys and all the Boxcar Children, seem destined to continue to collect dust.  But I’m trying my damnedest to light that spark in Spawn.  The kid can do it.  I’ve bought lots and lots of books in the search for the book that will start Spawn reading, some that I would have never have read myself (ok, most of them — I never was a Goosebumps fan).  Many of them have never been opened.  Some of them have been read to Spawn numerous times — a particular favorite of Spawn and my husband is Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger.  I’m not making that up.  I’m also not reading it.

At the school’s used book sale this year, I managed to snag a Great Illustrated Classics edition of White Fang, which proved to be – at least at the outset – The Book.  Spawn read the book without any assistance, without any encouragement, without giving up, in about four days.  I was so encouraged that I tracked down a Great Illustrated Classics copy of Call of the Wild, and Spawn is now reading that, albeit more slowly.  I should point out that I have not read either book, though I know the stories.  The Great Illustrated Classics are pared-down versions of the original books, and less intimidating to readers like Spawn.  My feeling is, let’s be less of a purist about the great books of childhood and simply get the kid turned on to reading.

Hey, whatever works.

 

— Mox

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Turns out, my life has more ups, downs, twists, turns, and whatnot than your average world class roller coaster.

And I have discovered Pinterest. Holy smokes that’s a lot of fun.

— Mox

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At the end of this week, I am going to attempt to do something I haven’t done in 15 years. 

Wallpaper. 

Wallpaper is somewhat out of vogue these days, what with all the nifty neat-o tricks you can do with paint nowadays.  Trouble is, the faux finishes you can approximate with paint are sometimes are more labor-intensive than putting up wallpaper.  My husband and I learned this during a happily misguided foray into painting stripes in our hallway.  My dear sweet husband about lost his religion over that one.  Consequently, I haven’t asked him to faux-paint anything else. 

When it comes to decorating our walls past the standard I-can’t-decide white, paint has been pretty much the go-to choice for us.  It helps that my father-in-law is a commercial painting contractor and my brother-in-law is happy to come visit us and do some painting every once in a while.  There is quite a difference between professional and amateur when it comes to painting, and I, my friends, am the amateur. 

The whole point of wallpaper, I suppose, to change the color and looks of a room in a quick fashion.  Which, if you’re going beyond a solid color, is easier to do than to layer on designs and glaze and all that stuff like you do with faux painting.  The wallpaper I’ve chosen is designed to look like an old stone wall.  Miles easier to paper than to paint something like that. 

Except it’s been quite a long while since I wallpapered anything, and I’ve forgotten how to do it. 

This thought occurred to me as I was driving home yesterday, and I spent a good long while thinking about it.  I had to reach back into my files a bit to dredge up the process, and I found my memory to be a bit spotty.  Good thing there’s the internet, I can get a bit of Remedial Wallpapering 101 before I start. 

It will feel good to restretch old muscles. 

— Mox

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beach_drink

Seriously, y’all.  I have been just about useless all week long.  I blame party aftermath.  And the time change. 

My next large project is a mass purge of closets and basement.  I have a date with St. Vincent de Paul on Friday.  I can hardly think about anything else.  I always feel a bit thinner whenever I clean out closets.

The really cold weather hasn’t hit here yet and already I’m dreaming of warm, beachy days.  Our annual fall break last month didn’t do much to help me relax, what with the addition of another kid into the mix and the head cold I managed to procure early during our trip.  Truth be told, I was a little glad to get home.  But what I really want is to hit the beach again, this time by myself. 

I wonder how long it would take for me to completely empty out my brain.  A steady supply of cool beverages, a stack of as-yet unread books, and no schedule to adhere to — that’s my idea of a good vacation.  I might actually be ready to rejoin the world after that. 

~sigh~ 

 

— Mox

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Very few things in life give me the same sense of satisfaction that I get when I have a stack of books waiting to be read on my bedside table. I get this sense of satisfaction because it feels like progress; I am not letting my brain rot from too much mom-ing and not enough me-ing.

My sister-in-law gave me a gift card to a bookstore for Christmas. My sister-in-law is one of the few people in my collection of in-laws who actually “gets” me. And I appreciate that fact because at first we did not have much of a relationship — I found her to be loud and obnoxious and god only knows what she thought of me. But she’s had four kids and she’s mellowed. And I guess maybe so have I.

I spent a happy couple of hours at the bookstore with my gift card and now have four books on deck.  Sure, the rest of my world is falling all to hell all around me, but at least now I have something to do to keep my mind occupied while it happens. 

— Mox

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Got a lot on my plate today, folks. 

I am considering running away from home.  Who’s with me? 

— Mox

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