Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stuck in the Middle

Ian made it safely to our house last night. Last time the airline lost his luggage, so we were very happy to see both him and his suitcase. Unfortunately the flight aggravated his ear infection, so we were all up until nearly three trying to ease his pain. Prayer and a heating pad finally did the trick. Today we were off to Bay Beach for fun on the rides. Bay Beach is this terrific amusement park that is quite old, FDR actually gave a speech there during one of his terms. The rides are permanent, so they are safe. There are no major roller coasters, but just traditional rides, with plenty of small rides for the little ones. All tickets are 25 cents, and the rides are just one or two tickets each. I spent $20 and that was enough to keep all six of us (Molly, Ian, Doogie, Mia, my brother Jake, and me) happy for over three hours. The pictures today are from our visit there.

I've been ordering CDs through the library like crazy! It's been fun remembering songs we love and then getting them. Last week I got The Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill from the late 1980s, the one with You've Got to Fight For Your Right to Party on it. I loved the cassette in high school. So last night I played it in the kitchen while I made lasagna for supper. In the middle of singing You've Got To Fight... I realized that I couldn't sing the song with the same kind of gusto that I had in my teens. "Man, living at home is such a drag... You wake up late for school, and you don't wanna go." I am the mom in the song! One more reason to make me feel officially old.

Stuck in the Middle edited by Ariel Schrag is a collection of seventeen comics about life in middle school. I've read good things about Schrag so I was looking forward to this trade paperback. But as with many collections with a variety of authors, this book was hit and miss, with lots of misses. Good writing should reveal a greater truth, and the sheer banality of the stories in this book revealed only that much of our experiences are the same and they are boring. There were a few stand out stories, and for the most part the artwork was terrific and very indicative of mood. The stories for the most part didn't show great pain or great joy, just small vignettes of life exposed for what they are: small, sad and occasionally moving. Everyone gets over middle school eventually, and perhaps the strongest essay in the book was a how-to guide to making it through those difficult years. The books exposes this age group's ability to be cruel and kind, often with no rationalization to either. It was an ok read, but I don't feel like I learned anything from reading it, nor would I recommend it to someone else.

Saturday I'm going to help Ian with his family tree. Molly was talking on the phone with him Monday night trying to explain genealogy to him. When he finally got it, his response to Molly was awesome! He said that I stalk dead people. That's hilarious, partly because it's true. Someone has to make up a bumper sticker for me that says that :Genealogists stalk dead people. I love it!