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Gosh is it dusty here! How long is it since I wrote an actual post? Things have gotten awfully neglected around here, but strap in and stick around for a while, because soon I am going to start posting a lot.
First, though, let’s do some catch-up.
Back to school was a little different this year. Elliot slept in, and I got up at 6 and made blueberry-buttermilk pancakes from scratch, completely forgetting that I am not that type of mother at all. I am definitely of the cold-cereal variety, the type of mother who gets up 10 minutes before the bus comes to make sure her children get out the door, and presumes they can get themselves up/showered/dressed/fed. So I don’t know what came over me, besides the fact that someone had given me some buttermilk. I made them pancakes and then cooked up the rest of the batter when Donn, Elliot, and I got up (again, in my case. Why yes, I do sometimes go back to bed after they leave. Because I can, and you all wish you could too!).
The twins were a little shocked (you’re up? you made pancakes? why?) but they managed to choke down a few pancakes with maple syrup, washed down with coffee, before heading off to their first day of classes as juniors.
Ilsa had decided over the summer not to do full IB. (Here’s their website for those of you not familiar with IB). Elliot did it, and did very well, but she decided to do a mix of IB and regular classes so she could continue to fit in her social life. So I was surprised to get a text from her about 10:30 that morning (yes, we were up and had eaten pancakes by that point!) announcing she was going to do full IB after all.
I got the full story after school. In her higher level Psych class, the teacher announced, “Anyone here know Elliot?” Ilsa slid down a little in her seat, looked carefully into the lower-middle distance. “He was an amazing student, the best I ever had,” went on the teacher, and proceeded to tell everyone how he was the most mature student she’d ever had and how he got the highest score possible on his IB exam even though they’d made the exam harder that year and how proud she was of him and how if they could only dream of being half as awesome as he was, or something like that. Ilsa slid lower and lower, while all her friends laughed at her.
“You never admitted being his sister?” I asked, amused. “No way,” said Ilsa. “But I’m going to do full IB and be really organized and I’m taking 4 higher levels instead of 3 like he did. So that’s better.”
I pointed out that it didn’t count, her taking French as an HL to Elliot taking Spanish as a SL (standard level), when Spanish was his 3rd language and she went to school in French until she was in Grade 8. Her French class is so easy for her, rather like her English classes in French school were.
Abel outed her. He has the same class at a different time (I wrote “in a different world.” What the heck? Who knows where my brain goes…). When the teacher began by asking if anyone knew the Incomparable Elliot, he shot his hand up. “He’s my brother,” he said. Afterwards he went to her. Now Abel and Elliot are so completely opposite that many people who know them both don’t realize they’re brothers. (Example: Elliot dark and stocky, Abel fair and slender-ish. (no one in this family is skinny) Elliot snarky, Abel sweet. Elliot academically-oriented, Abel video-game oriented. And so much more) Abel told the teacher, “I am not my brother.” But in the course of the conversation, he mentioned his twin. I figure the psych teacher is going to have a blast psycho-analyzing our family after having all 3 of my very different children in her class.
As for how I feel about her praising Elliot to the skies, half of me is Elliot’s mother and thrilled. She gets him! He’s so awesome! That’s my son! And half of me is the twins’ mother, and annoyed at her for putting an unfair burden of comparison on their sweet little shoulders. What do you think?
La Rentreé, 2eme:
It was weird, having Elliot round the house when the twins went back to school. His summer job ended mid-Sept (a little earlier than he was hoping it would), and although he picked up a few odd jobs here and there, he was definitely around a bit more, especially in the mornings. Last week we took him off to college. We drove down to Eugene (he’s attending the Univ of Oregon), which is about 2 hours south of here, took him out to lunch and then found his dorm. We’ve been having stormy November-type wind and rain round here, so I wore a nice thick sweater and neglected to layer, so naturally the sun beat down and I nearly died of heatstroke.
I feel that sending my eldest off to college deserves its own post, so I’ll just say he’s doing fine and we’re doing fine. You never know, I might actually post about it. Don’t be a pessimist.
Did you know that I have spent the last 3 years in the same country? I have even mostly been in the same state, except for brief forays into California, Indiana and Pennsylvania. This is bad. I remember my shock in December 2011, realizing that I’d been in the US for the entire calendar year.
All this to say, the feet, they are itchin’ to travel!
And….we are going to! Donn and I have been given the chance to visit Morocco and Mauritania next month! I can tell you we are beyond excited about this, and I’m planning to blog the heck out of the trip.
or a late nightstand, as in, this nightstand post is a day late and probably a dollar short, if we’re going to be honest here. But I wanted to do one this month.
This month’s reading is brought to you by insomnia and mental disorders. No, not mine, silly. I sleep quite well, when I can get to bed, that is. It’s just been a theme in my reading lately.
OK. THE BIT ABOVE WAS WRITTEN LAST MONTH. Yes, I’ve sunk so low I’m posting unfinished posts a month late. This is pretty bad. I also haven’t been updating my blog. I had terrible computer problems, but they’ve been sort of solved. That is, I have a new laptop (YAAAY!!) but it came with Windows H8, so there’s a long adjustment period required. I will update my blog soon. Meanwhile…
Last month, I read two books about insomnia. Isn’t that weird? Both Kind of Cruel (a really good domestic thriller! Sophie Hannah’s latest) and Sea Creatures (also really good and well-written!) dealt with main characters suffering from insomnia. I also read a lot of other books, none of which are springing to mind. I’m too lazy to go look. Anyway, that was weeks ago. Onward and upward!
This month, I also read a lot of books. It’s what I do. Let’s see if I can remember them. Um.
Free Spirit was a fascinating book, sort of like that fabled train wreck you can’t look away from. Written with humour and compassion, author Josh Safran describes being brought up by an idealistic mother who gave birth to him in a commune and fled the threat of nuclear war by taking him to live off the grid in the Washington rain forest. It’s actually super funny and super depressing at the same time. It contains some very strong scenes and strong language too, I’ll warn you. But a glimpse into a totally different way of life through the eyes of a child.
After Her was also really well-written. It’s Joyce Maynard’s latest. If you like her, go enter the giveaway!
A Question of Honor is the latest Bess Crawford mystery. I think it’s the best so far. Bess is trying to solve a series of murders from 10 years earlier, ones that revolve around English families taking in British children whose parents are stationed in India.
The Ghost Bride was very interesting and unusual. Ilsa actually read it first, as it arrived in the mail as we were on our way out the door, and she thought it looked good. We both enjoyed it. It takes place in the late 19th-century Malaysia (then called Malaya) and is, in a way, a retelling of a folk tale. You’ll learn quite a bit about social mores and customs of the time, and it’s a great story as well.
Right now, I’m reading:.
Spider Woman’s Daughter is set in the Navajo nation. It’s written by Anne Hillerman, daughter of Tony Hillerman, and it continues the series he started. I read a couple of others in the series (by Tony, that is) a few years ago, so I wanted to try the new one. So far, pretty good.
Almost True Confessions: Closet Sleuth Spills All is light and funny so far, also a murder mystery but sort of zany.
Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales is really fun. 2 editors put their heads together and approached several different authors, who took favorite short stories–everything from Sleeping Beauty to Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King”–and, as it were, boiled them down to the bones and reassembled them. In other words, they looked at essential parts of the story and then retold them in another time and setting. Really enjoying this one!
And soon, I’m going to read:
Bellman & Black. The new one from the author of The Thirteenth Tale. Pretty excited about this one!
At the Bottom of Everything The publisher’s blurb says: It’s been ten years since the “incident,” and Adam has long since decided he’s better off without his former best friend, Thomas. But when he receives an email from Thomas’s mother begging for his help, he finds himself drawn back into his old friend’s world, and into the past he’s tried so desperately to forget. As Adam embarks upon a magnificently strange and unlikely journey, Ben Dolnick unspools a tale of spiritual reckoning, of search and escape, of longing and reaching for redemption—a tale of near hallucinatory power.
I have several other books on the nightstand, but it’s upstairs and I’m downstairs, and this month’s theme seems to be “Laziness.” Appropriate after last month’s theme of “Insomnia,” no? Anyway. Check back in soon for an actual update. Clue: I will probably miss next month’s Nightstand because I will be on another continent!!
What are you reading this month? Anything good?