Thursday, August 28, 2014

Morning Walk

This was the view on my morning walk. Lafreniere Park.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Lesson via TMNT : Keep Your Eyes Open

I won't be seeing the new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie, and not just because of my disdain for Michael Bay's movies. The turtles once played a key role in our family life, but that was a couple of decades ago. I am, after all, pushing 60, my kids are mostly grown. From the box office reports, it doesn't sound like they missed me.

But with all the hype the last few weeks, it reminded me of one of the wisest things I've ever heard a kid say. And I've heard kids say more than a few things.

It was 1991, and I had taken sons Jack (10 years old) and Ben (5) to see "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze." It's the one with the classic appearance by Vanilla Ice, who can now be seen in a mac and cheese commercial, as a himself working in a supermarket. It's always nice to see someone with a little perspective, who can poke a little fun at himself.

A few days later I was walking through Eugene's downtown pedestrian mall with the boys. And Jack went running on ahead to a manhole cover. (For the uninitiated, if there are any, the turtles lived in the sewers and emerged through the manholes.) He peered at it closely, kicking at it once or twice, then came back to me.

With a knowing look, he told me, "Any place could be a secret passage. That's why I keep my eyes open."

Something I try to keep in mind, as life offers the occasional secret passageway. You've got to keep your eyes open.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Change of Seasons

Got up early this morning, made a lunch. And so it goes, with the seasons changing.

Not the calendar seasons, of course. Friday is the first day of school. They start school absurdly early here in Louisiana. Call me old fashioned, but the school year starts the first day after Labor Day, it always has. It's a month early here. It's the beginning of August, temps are in the middle 90s. And kids are getting ready to drag their butts back to school.

And so is Tori. After two years of fighting her way through the system, she has her own classroom. She'll be teaching English Language Arts at the Stella Worley Middle School. It's not ideal by a long shot, it's across the river, so she'll have a half hour drive over the Huey Long Bridge every morning and afternoon. But it's the school that wanted her, and that makes it ideal.

It's been a long summer, especially July. Took the kids to the Rooster Teeth con in Austin. Did a lot of work for the Source. Took another freelance job that had me writing nine stories in a month. And spent a week in Louisville helping Tori clean up (both literally and legally) her brother Brian's estate, which was no fun at all. That was a really tough week. But there were a couple of bright spots. We stayed with Brian's ex-wife, who is a peach. And Tori reconnected with her best friend from 30 some years ago, when she was 14.

So it wasn't all awful, just mostly.

Anyway, we're starting a new season, and a new set of routines. Tori is at school right now trying to get a summer's worth of prep time dealt with in a day. Tomorrow she and Max are off to their respective schools. I get up first to get coffee started and make school lunches and get them out the door. Then I can get to work.

But, while I like the routines – I get more work done during the school year than during the summer – I can't quite shake the feeling that the timing is wrong. It's way too early.