Monday, September 26, 2016

Future of Entertainment

After watching hours of murder reality television, mostly because I'm too lazy to make decisions about what to watch next and also because I find the narrator voices soothing, I realized how depressing it was.

"We should turn this off. We should get rid of the televisions," I said, never one to do anything half-ass (except for all the other things).

Mr. Ashley ignored me.

"We should just watch kittens instead."

I have four cats now. I don't know if I fail at kitten rescue or if I'm amazing at it, but I have double the number of cats I intended to have and quadruple the number he wants. It's a sore subject.

I love the cats, though. A lot. All day and night long.

"Ashley. You are crazy. The cat thing is out of control. I'm not joking right now."

"Wait, wait -- you never listen. Hear me out. We get a big box and two more cats. We decorate the box to look like a gigantic television set, put all six of the cats in there and watch them instead."

He stared at me. Incredulous? Impressed? Hard to say.

"No, for real, you are literally insane. As in, I am seriously concerned for you and your future because you get crazier by the second and I don't want to live like this, with more cats."

"Why? Because we need a minimum of six cats to make it work? Admit it, it's an amazing idea."

"No. It's not. It's even crazier than having four cats."

So, I need two more cats and a box that looks like a television before the presidential debates tonight. He'll come around.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


My kids have iPhones.

People like to be all judgy about this, but they are used iPhone 4s, they were gifts, it makes my life more convenient and people would be judgy about something else if they didn't have iPhones, so put it on the list.

Neither of my kids is glued to their phone. That's not to say they practice a healthy amount of device time -- just that this particular bad habit hasn't set in yet. Due to their unfamiliarity with the phone and how it works, Big Kid accidentally tries to FaceTime me every time he means to call, and then immediately hangs up and calls because we are not a FaceTime-type family.

When it happened yesterday, I answered, "Did you want to FaceTime?"

"No. Sorry about that. I need you --"

"It's no problem. I could dance to Meghan Trainor songs for you, I know you love that."

"No, really, mom, that's fine. I'm ready to --"

"Rock the beat with Justin Timberlake? Right. I get it. You could dance too, that is the fun of FaceTime."

"Mom. Please. There are people around."

"Oh, that's fine! Perfect, really. They can watch. It you set the phone up on the table and call everyone around, it should work. I can turn Meghan up super loud too, let me get the bluetooth speaker."

"No, no. Mom. It's fine. We can do that later," he promised, realizing this bit would never end.

"But your friends may not be available later."

"Well, we'll call them. That's the thing about FaceTime."

"I mean, I suppose. I'm feeling good now though, it seems like my time to shine."

"I know. You could. It would be great. Really. I swear. Could you please pick me up now?"

"Before or after the dancing?"

"Mom? Please?"

And that's why my kids have iPhones.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Eye of the Beholder

Today as we were sitting in traffic, I looked over at the car next to us and gasped, "Wow," and then another when I saw its occupant.

I live in a wealthy city and seeing Maseratis isn't usually notable but this was the most beautiful car with the most beautiful woman in it that I had ever seen -- the kind of polished and perfect beauty that only comes with great riches.

"What?" My 10-year-old asked.

"That car is beautiful -- like unusually and expensively so. And so is the lady inside."


"Oh. Nothing. I was just noticing. And impressed. And maybe a little envious?"

"Why? You are beautiful. And you drive a black car just like her."

Guys, I drive a used VW Jetta with a broken side mirror. I was wearing the same cut-offs I've worn the last 2 days. My hair was in a messy ponytail -- like, totally unbrushed, and I had no make-up on.

She was in a high end Maserati (I know nothing about cars, but I know it wasn't one of the "cheap" ones). She had glossy, long, curled dark hair blowing behind her, perfectly pouty glossed lips, not a line on her face, and her rings were blinding me as she held up her phone.

"Haha. Thank you, honey. It's a little different but I appreciate it."

"Well...maybe just because your hair is in a ponytail."

And I laughed, because that was hilarious...but he meant it. This was not your typical kiss-assery. He was both sincere and confused at my admiration of her.

"I'm never going to grow out of telling you you're beautiful, it's not just because I'm little that I think that," he said when I laughed.

And, man, I hope he doesn't.

Because I'll never have a Maserati.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

You Know What

Every conversation:

"Mom, you know what?"

"What? No...wait. I'm sorry but, you know, you could just start the story -- "

"That's what I'm trying to do."

"I mean without starting it with a question. It would save some time."

"I don't have a question, I'm trying to tell you something."

"Okay. Right. Yes. What?"

"You know what happened today?"

"You did it again. I don't want to say 'what' again, just tell the story."

"If you'd stop interrupting, I would."

No. I don't know what. I don't know what happened today. I probably don't want to either. There's a 85% chance this story is going to involve something someone said on YouTube and will last long enough for me to contemplate my own mortality; let's just get the show on the road here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


So, we homeschooled Big Kid last year. For reasons. I was going to do it again this year too, even bigger and better, but one day we were walking on the beach and he announced he would be returning to public school for 8th grade. I was surprised, and asked if he was sure, reminding him of the fun changes we were going to make.

He replied, "Yeah, I need some life stories. You know?"

I know. It was a sigh of relief, even though I truly enjoy his company.

(But my own company? People, it's exquisite.)

I was apprehensive about his return to middle school and thought it may take him a while to assimilate; that he may be shy or reserved, or less mature than the others after a year away.

I was wrong. It happens sometimes.

"Today we had a substitute who was saying girls are pretty," Big Kid announced over dinner on Friday.

"What a weirdo."

"No, mom, he was saying specific girls in class were pretty."

"Uh, seriously? Like pointing people out?"

"Yes. It was incredibly creepy. He was also telling us that they had leftovers in the class before us and he said that only gorgeous girls could have some, and then pointed to a table and said, 'Not you, you're all ugly' and before he could clarify that he was kidding, some girl started crying."

"Are you serious? Did one of the kids from that class tell you this? Because sometimes things get exagger -- "

"HE told us this. Gleefully. It was very unsettling." He said gleefully and unsettling because he is the child of my heart and mind.

"Yeah. Well, I know it's awkward but I'm going to have to tell someone about this."

"You can do whatever you want but I'm telling my teacher myself as soon as I see her on Tuesday. No way can I let that slide and she needs to hear it from someone who was there."

"Oh. Yeah. No. I'm proud of you for being willing to speak up. Was he old?"

"So, so, so old. Bald and liver spots old. But it doesn't matter, he made everyone uncomfortable and someone has to call him out on that kind of behavior. My teacher needs to know, he was her replacement."

I'm still going to follow up but it sounds like he has it handled. And I'm impressed and proud of his willingness to speak up about a situation on behalf of others.

Kids these days.

Are a lot more civilized than many of their elders.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Little Prince is Hugely Awesome

I watched The Little Prince on Netflix the other night and can't stop thinking about it.

Not only was it stunning to look at, but it was so deeply meaningful. I mostly put it on to fill some time before bed on an endless day, an effort that is mostly futile now that my kids are at an age where they're reluctant to hang out with me. 

little kid was hooked immediately and within five minutes declared it a work of art. 

But then something interesting happened. Big Kid, 13 and bad ass, food/movie/humanity critic extraordinaire, wandered in and stopped. "Is that stop motion animation?" He asked. 

"I don't know. Is it?" I replied, because he'd know. 

It was. 

He paced around for a bit, shifting from foot to foot. 

We exclaimed about the movie's visual beauty...and he didn't disagree. He slowly, gradually, eventually...joined us on the bed and watched.

He liked it. We all liked something. 

I mean, it's more of a miracle than the Virgin Mary on toast. 

We were all so moved by the ending and the movie's message that there was even a few minutes of quiet contemplation and discussion afterwards. 

I CANNOT believe this movie was released straight to Netflix (no offense Netflix or movie). I would have been thrilled to have seen it in the theater, and I say that as someone who is meh on theaters (thanks to loud popcorn chewers and cell phone checkers). The fact that Netflix is my secret lover has absolutely nothing to do with my love of this movie and my level of "How lucky are we to have seen that so easily and inexpensively?" 

We were so blown away by it that each of us interrupted the movie at some point to exclaim over how amazing it all was, and everyone agreed each time.

The Little Prince was beautiful in every way -- to look at, to listen to, to think about and I can't believe it's not all anyone is talking about. I loved it like I love Up, and that's huge. 

So, you should watch it. Even if only for a couple of hours of peace and quiet. But it will be more than that. 

*I wrote this post as a member of the Netflix Stream Team. I receive free Netflix in exchange for sharing my thoughts on what I'm watching on Netflix, and sometimes Netflix and I flirt with each other a little bit. It's like a friends with benefits thing, but the benefits are Netflix originals and hearing me talk about them so I'm clearly the winner of this deal but don't tell them I said that.