. . . except for the knitting

The Rejectionist asked us yesterday how our pre-resolutions are going. I left a brief comment over there, but needed a post today, so here’s the expanded version:

My tires are new, balanced, and actually grip the road—what a peculiar sensation it is not to skid to a stop.  As mentioned in a previous post, I spent a little extra to get them done quickly and conveniently, but prefer to view it as spending five years worth of tire money all at once.

I took the kids (and my husband) to see Tangled on Saturday. Everyone liked it, even Janie, who spent about three-fourths of it hiding behind me in case something scary happened. She loved Maximus, though, and the faire dance—which in my opinion was set to the best music of the movie.

It’s a good story with amazing animation—though, as my husband said, if the eyes were any bigger, it would be a Bug’s Life. Regardless, we both thought that the style would be perfect for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Especially for Nanny Ogg. I would also swear that the design of the biggest thug was based on Clancy Brown’s Kurgan from Highlander—a movie dear to my heart and an actor dearer. I may have to go back and see both movies again to be sure . . .

The only part of this resolution I missed was the popcorn part—the kids turned me down, because they were full of shoestring French fries from the restaurant. I didn’t think that was possible. Afterwards, though, my husband took them for blizzards at the DQ while I collected my newly-shod car and hoped my credit card wouldn’t melt.

I’m pretty much meeting my daily two hour writing goal, though I’ve learned to plug in the tunes and shut off the WiFi. I write before the kids get up, at work before I clock in, on breaks or lunch, and after the kids go to bed. I’m budgeting time, too, if there’s something I want to do with the family.

That almost seems . . . responsible. Weird.

I’m also more aware of free floating minutes that might be used for writing and the consequences of using those minutes for Youtubing or channel flipping. Though sometimes, the consequences are a more relaxed writer with a better handle on what might come next . . . it’s a balance, surprise, surprise.

So my pre-Resolutions are going pretty well.  Except for one thing:

My mother’s handknitted-with-love-and-cat hair Christmas socks remain untouched. 
Because I still can’t find them.


The Pre-Resolutions Uncontest: Tires, Time, Tangled . . . and Socks (maybe)

The Rejectionist has provided us with yet another Participatory Self-Actualization Opportunity because that’s just the kind of person she is.

This time, she’s asked her loyal readers to join her in her tradition of making pre-Resolutions.  Unlike the usual January ones which are meant to be kept all year, and which I generally kick into the cat box around March 3rd, pre-Resolutions are  to be kept for the month—or any part of the month, no matter how small—of December. 

Here are my pre-Resolutions for December 2010:

1. I will buy new tires for my car before the end of the month, as I am still driving on the 2005 originals.  Not only can I see all of Mr. Lincoln when I try the penny test on what can no longer truthfully be called the treads, but the bridge I use to pass over the mighty Mississippi at least twice a day—with kids—is starting to develop that icy sheen.* 

 And it $&#@ snowed yesterday. 

2. I will write at least two hours a day during the month of December.  Words on paper, pixels on screen. To save my sanity, the time will be cumulative, not sequential, but there will be no carryover or make-up minutes. I will write every day.

Blogging doesn’t count, so expect shorter posts, y’all.  You can thank me later.

3. I will finish the socks I started in May for Mom’s June birthday—all the way up, none of this “Mom prefers anklets” business—and send them  to her in time for Christmas. 

If I can remember where I put them.

4.  I will take my kids to see Tangled the very first chance I get and buy them too much popcorn and not worry about how much gets inside the kids or outside the containers.  And I might even take them twice.

So that’s the plan for December.

With perseverance and a little luck—I seriously have no idea where those socks are—I might even make it past Hanukkah!


* ‘Cause the mighty Mississip goes all the way up, that’s why.   The sultry deltas get all the press, so people tend to forget the ice floes at the other end.

Banned Book Review: And Tango Makes Three

Once again the Rejectionist has challenged her devoted readership—in honor of Banned Book Week, she’s asked us to read and review a banned book.

The only problem I had was  choosing a title.  Looking at the lists—and there are many, many lists—it turns out that mostly without knowing it,  I’ve read a lot of books over the years that someone somewhere wanted to keep me from reading.*

But as much as I love and\or respect  The Color Purple , Huckleberry Finn, George Orwell, and so on  (and on and on),  I thought I’d choose something I hadn’t read before.  And since I’ve spent the last few days  jumping up and down on my “spare the children, spoil the future” soapbox, I decided to find a banned children’s book I hadn’t read before.

The book I chose** has been attacked almost every year since it was released.***  Our library system owns several  copies, all but one of which were checked out, which shows how popular it is.^

And Tango Makes Three  is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo in New York, who choose each other as partners.  They do everything the other penguin couples do,  which includes building a nest together.  Unable to lay eggs, they take turns sitting on a rock, until the penguin keeper gives them a fertilized egg.

Roy and Silo take care of the egg and it hatches into a female penguin that the keeper names Tango, because “it takes two to make a Tango.”  The two penguins successfully raise Tango together as a family.

Full confession:  I actually teared up.  The illustrations are so expressive and cute and Tango is so bright-eyed and fuzzy-wuzzy .  . . ahem.  Henry Cole did a fantastic job.

So did Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.  This story makes its point through simple facts and clear sentences—no hammer necessary.  Ray and Silo aren’t anthropomorphic— these are real penguins whose behavior is interpreted, in part, through their keeper.  They are exactly like every other penguin couple, except they can’t produce an egg on their own.

And let the terrified rest assured:  while Roy and Silo are affectionate partners, those condemning  (or hoping  for^^) graphic penguin lust must look elsewhere.

A child reading this book will take away at least four  gentle ideas:  Homosexuality naturally occurs in the animal kingdom.  Families of all gender combinations occur in the animal kingdom.  Roy, Silo, and Tango are liked by zoo visitors and loved by each other.  No animal was harmed during the original events of this story.

No wonder every homophobe who encounters this book is threatened by it.

My children loved it.


* I’d also like to thank and give kudos to my public school system for requiring me to read so many of these books, although I certainly didn’t thank you at the time.   Sort of kicks that “inappropriate for age group” grievance in the teeth, doesn’t it?

**With the help of yet more lists and a friend—thanks, Grace!

***Not in our library system, though.  We blessedly get few complaints about items in our collections—The only one I can remember was an illustrated juvenile picture book of the human body that someone’s toddler was dragging around by a single page.  I think we gave the mother a copy of our Unattended Children Policy and everyone agreed to call it a draw.

^ And it’s short with lots of pictures— a bonus, since I left this review until the very last minute.

^^Or both—I always wonder about people who protest too much.

Coping with Rejection: Strategies #2a and 2b

Remember that you’re in fine and brilliant company by reading through all the links posted in the comments  to the fabulous and incomparable Rejectionist’s essay uncontest:  What Form Rejections Mean to Me.   Bookmark them for later.

And then watch this:

Hard to be blue when you’re tapping your feet and bouncing in your seat. And wishing you were the one goosing Mr. DeLuise . . .