Friday, March 23, 2007

Good-bye Chunky Rice

Sorry about the odd title for today; it really is the title of the book I'm reviewing. I'm completely wiped out today. I spent most of the week running errands and spring cleaning, and I overdid it. I'm spending today on the couch, laptop on my lap (thank you Eric!).

Wednesday was a heck of a day. Dad came over to visit for a bit, and I followed him outside to go get the mail. Mia was completely sucked in to a video, so I thought two minutes wouldn't hurt. My mistake. I came back from the mailbox to see her smiling behind the closed back door. Yep, the door was locked. I tried to explain to her how to move the lock to let me in, but in her nervousness, she couldn't quite get it. The front door is completely blocked off by bookshelves (part of spring cleaning). I went to the front door and opened it the two inches possible, and she retrieved my keys from where they hang by the backdoor, and I was able to get in. She spent a four minutes on the naughty chair, and we had a talk about never touching locks on doors. On the way to pick up Molly from the bus, Mia said, "Mommy, when I grow up, I'm going to annoy you like my brother and sister. Sometimes I'll be nice to you, and you'll like me, but most of the time I'm going to annoy you, because I want to be just like Sissy, because she's awesome." My jaw hit the floor when Molly got off of the bus. It was career day at school, and a beautician did her hair. She looked gorgeous. That's the picture for today. After we got home, Mia went to the bathroom while I put away some laundry and Molly cleaned her room. I came out of the bedroom and saw Mia on the couch, Molly in her room, and the bathroom door shut tight. Yep, Mia locked the door and shut it behind her. She went back on the naughty chair for another four minutes while I fought with the unruly key, and then we had another talk about how she should never, ever, touch the locks on doors. Mom and I went to a stamping party, and while I was gone, Mia told Jess that she wanted to grow up to be just like Sissy. Jess said, "Mia, promise me you will not grow up to be just like Sissy." Mia put her hands on her hips, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Daddy, I won't promise you that." That girl is going to be trouble.

Last night Doogie and I rocked out to Journey's Greatest Hits on the way home from Mom's. We blasted Don't Stop Believin' and sang at the top of our lungs. Mia actually stopped talking for awhile in shock. Then we skipped to Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' and rocked out to that one too. Mia spoke up to say that she was singing too, and then listened quietly until the nah-nahs when she joined in. It was one of those moments that I hold tightly and place carefully in the scrapbook of my mind to pull out when I need a smile.

Good-bye Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson is the tender story of the eponymous turtle who leaves his beloved mouse friend Dandele to go away. Where Chunky Rice goes is never defined, but he is driven by his need to leave. The story is told with many flashbacks and cut-aways to supporting characters. The strange man who helps Chunky with his luggage is a pathetic man whose abuse by his father and siblings has left him haunted. Dandele speaks in beautifully turbulent poetry comparing her anguish at the loss of Chunky to the stormy waves of the sea. She tosses countless bottles into the sea, pouring out her heart in hopeful and hopeless SOS's to Chunky. Meanwhile, Chunky is on a small ship with a crude captain, conjoined twins, and a slatternly cook. The storm the ship encounters on the way seems a little too metaphorical for the changes in the passengers' lives. While the artistry is almost a little too charming, the story's dreamlike telling is compelling and poignant. I look forward to reading more of Thompson's works.

Word to the wise: there is a little nudity, unnecessary as usual, and the captain truly is crude, but true to life.

My parents and I aren't very expressive physically of our love for each other. We say it when it matters and hug on special occasions, and we're all comfortable with that. I called Dad this morning to let him know that I wouldn't be bringing Mia over today because of the pain. His gruff voice got soft, and he called me Sweetie, immediately bringing a lump to my throat. It's amazing the depth of love that can be spoken in just a few words.


Jessie said...

Oh I remember locking my mom out a few times. Drove her nuts! Now I realize how scary and frustrating it can be. The things we do to our parents!