Behold the new junior

Last day of sophomore year! Since last August, this one learned chemistry, geometry, and way more than she ever intended about Romeo and Juliet. She learned journalism and was a reporter and writer for the school magazine. She took a college Spanish class, then prepared for the French and Spanish AP tests on her own and thinks she did well; since she can do nothing language-related in moderation, she also studied Mandarin and read extensively in German and Italian.

She did 30 hours of online study and passed her written driving test, and has pretty much learned to drive (many hours of road experience are still required before she takes the road test this fall). She’s a careful and confident driver. From being an inexperienced and inexpert swimmer, she learned to swim with proper strokes (her teacher said they were very clean), and to dive. For the final, she demonstrated enough endurance to swim continuously for almost an hour. No doubt some of that came from having taken up rock climbing, running, and weightlifting this year; our daughter the self-proclaimed gym rat does one or more of those three things five days a week.

No wonder she’s tired.

Easter hunt

Mookie invents terrific games. For Easter, she made us an egg hunt, but only the first item was an egg. It was an orange plastic one, nestled in the orange flowering plant we had just been given at Passover, and inside the egg was the first message here, plus a quote from a book. When we figured out what book it was from, we took that book off the shelf, opened it and found a quote from the next book.

The clues, arrayed after the game

Her aesthetic sense extended to also putting the slip at the same page where the previous quote was to be found. It was elegant. It was also a lovely tour through books that all three of us know and know that the others know. My mom was also there, and although naturally, she isn’t quite as entwined in the Morgenstern bibliographic ecosystem, she recognized some of them too, and enjoyed watching the search unfold.

If you recognize more than a few, you and we must have very similar taste in books.

Painting proceeds


.. with more to come. I’m experiencing some vicarious excitement. It’s not so much with the painting; although I’m happy for her, I have no particular desire to replace the bland ecru of my own bedroom walls. No, what I love is the rearranging of the furniture. When I was young, I used to rearrange the furniture in my room periodically, and it was a source of great happiness. First the imagining. Then the measuring and sketching what would go where. Then a thorough tidying and cleaning, for which I was much more motivated than usual. Then the actual moving of furniture. And then the first few days in a “new” room, with the strange thrill of displacement that came from unfamiliarity, and the relishing of what it created: a little nook made by this bookcase, a new perspective through a window. And always, some rediscovery of books or other belongings that I had forgotten about until I had to move them.

I haven’t done something like that with my own space in decades, except once or twice with my office. Living with another person is a big part of it–I’d have to propose and confer. The office is purely mine, but no room in our house is. And then, there aren’t a lot of ways to reconfigure either our bedroom or the living room. But now I’m thinking that maybe the bedroom, at least, could be changed around a little . . . hm!

In the meantime, I’m particularly looking forward to the stage when the painting is done and I help M. move her furniture out of the living room and into its new locations.

Vacation week project

We are painting Mookie’s room this week. I’ve been taking all the screws and nails out of the walls and now I am spackling. I love to spackle, and I love to say the word spackle. Spackle spackle spackle.

I also love this invention: spackle that goes on pink and dries white, so you know when it’s ready to sand. I don’t love to sand, but whatcha gonna do.

Our supervisor. Sometime today, the bed will be moved away from the wall and covered with drop cloths. I wonder if she’ll stay for that part of the process.

Rite of passage

We are at the DMV. Second time today, fourth time total. Although the Slough of Bureaucracy sucked and clutched at our ankles, we emerged and have successfully run the Paperwork Gauntlet. It truly is like a rite of passage, with painful initiations, odd rituals like giving one’s thumbprint, covering one’s left eye and reading line A1, covering one’s right eye and reading line B5… M. is now undergoing the Trial By Writing. On the other side lie adulthood and freedom, sort of.

ETA: She passed! We went to a quiet alley near home and she had her first driving lesson. It was fun to relive the thrill of that experience. It has been a long time, and I had almost completely forgotten how exciting it was to make a car stop and go and turn for the first time.

It all becomes clear

It all becomes clear

We were comparing mustaches, as one does. Mookie really has no discernible hair on her lip.

Me: I guess mine has gotten more visible. And then a few longer hairs come along… Less estrogen.

Mookie: You’re a walrus.

Me: I am a walrus. Goo goo g’joob.

Mookie: What?!

Me: It’s a very famous Beatles song, and you don’t know it! Okay, I’m playing it right now.

(pulls up “I Am the Walrus” online)

John Lennon: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together…

Mookie: This is “drugs,” right?

Joy once created a sorting system for all Beatles songs, with categories such as “Love” (with many sub- and sub-subcategories), “Phonies,” etc. For example:

“Good Day Sunshine” is Love: Going Well

“For No One” is Love: Not Going Well: Someone’s Getting Dumped: You

This adds a great deal of enjoyment to our listening, and Mookie is used to one of us turning to each other as a song unfolds, and saying succinctly, “Not going well” or “Social commentary.” One of the categories is “Too many drugs.”

Me: Yep. Definitely too many drugs.

We listened to the rest of the song, Mookie occasionally exclaiming in disbelief.

Beatles: Juba juba!

Me, close up to Mookie’s face: Juba! Juba juba!

Mookie: Now I know why you’re like this.

The Silly family

The Silly family

When Mookie was little, we played a game of the “bet you can’t make me laugh” variety: I would insist, with as dour an expression and tone as I could manage, that we were the Serious family and no humor or silliness would be tolerated. She would say, “No, we’re the Silly family” and try to make me crack a smile. My Serious persona could never hold out long. We are definitely the Silly family.

Case in point: we ran out of the “eating” carrots, the very sweet, enjoyable-for-snacking-on, and therefore “good” carrots that we like to keep on hand alongside the cheaper, not-quite-as-delicious “cooking” carrots. So Mookie added “zanahorias buenas,” good carrots, to the shopping list on the fridge. Naturally, this could not help provoking a response, so these Bad Carrots have been on the fridge for a few weeks. Maybe they are what Bad Bunny eats.

Young child, old cat: a story in eight pictures

This little drama took place 15 years ago today.
1. Mookie was almost nine months old and could pull herself up to see what Marco Polo, our crotchety cat, was doing.
2. Marco did not consider that any of the small human’s business.
3. With the large humans, cleaning was an effective way to signal disdain and an intent to ignore them.

4. In the case of the small human, however, it did not seem to get the message across.
5. On the contrary, she was more interested than ever.

6. For Mookie’s part, she thought that she had gotten so close already that surely if she reached out as far as she could, she could touch the soft kitty.

7. Mookie’s arms were short, but Marco wasn’t taking any chances.
8. No caption needed.

The salon is open, sort of

I told Mookie I was going to treat myself to a pedicure. I have only ever had one, and it wasn’t all that, but I definitely want toenail polish, which I find difficult to do on myself. This Sunday feels extra-celebratory: it’s Water Communion, the kids are mostly vaccinated, the choir is singing, and it’s the first time our new minister of religious education and I are leading worship together! So my nails are going to be an appropriate ocean blue and show off in open-toed shoes.

Mookie responded, “I’ll paint your nails for you!” That sounded like fun, especially when we decided I’d reciprocate by drawing “tattoos” on her arm with skin markers. Our version of a girls’ spa day. Who needs a salon? So I bought my blue nail polish a few days ago, and just now I set out the collection. Then I went to get her, and… she’s asleep. Sigh.

In other news, for someone who seldom wears nail polish, I have a lot of colors.