Inktober day 3 (prompt)

I’m tired so you’re only getting the sketch I drafted while working today. The prompt was “bait,” and Bob said (of the sketch) “but there’s no cat.” It’s true! I also tried out a few hooks. My grandfather used to make his own fly fishing hooks, which my dad made a lovely shadowbox for, and gave to his sister. I digress.

Inktober day 1

I’m not sure I’ll actually have time or energy to complete a full drawing a day, but the inktober challenge is fascinating. I struggle to sneak in creativity, and I don’t usually use ink (I’m a graphite or paint type), so this is all uncharted territory. Illustration is a fun, vibrant, and highly technical art form, and it’ll be interesting to dabble on purpose a bit.

Without further ado, here’s a kitty with an agenda.

A very Grant day

Yesterday I got up with Grant around 7, and we spent the day together. The twins were there too, but they are really chill right now, and I was able to give G Unit enough attention that he was just awesome all day.

First thing in the morning, we all walked to the Farmers Market. Grant’s cat, Eleven, followed us there, and played with the twins for awhile, while Grant and I shopped.

We bought honeycrisp apples, a cucumber, and a handful of honey sticks. I sat on a bench and drank my coffee while the twins played with some kids they found, and Grant divided his time between me, the water fountain, and the big kids. Eleven took himself home when a fire truck went screaming by, and we met him there when we walked back home.

Bob had gotten up early to help build King Street Park, which was going up in one day, with the help of a lot of volunteers. After we returned home, we all got changed out of our jammies, and we went to visit Bob at the site. I dropped the twins off with him, and Grant and I went to the grocery store.

On our way, we stopped by Wendy’s and I got fries and iced tea, and Grant got a jr Frosty and a small fry. He was thrilled with our vintage Wendy’s, which was fully empty, and we spent our time there trying our every. Single. Table.

Apparently I did not get Grant changed before our grocery run.

We got our groceries, including a bunch of Gatorade for the park volunteers, and went back to the park. I gathered up the twins and we all headed home.

At home, I did a little cleaning up and gave the kids lunch. I tried to get Grant to nap, but he just “helped” me do some crossword puzzles. He was very “helpful,” and absolutely sincere. We also did a giant floor puzzle of Thomas. Then Bob asked us to come back to the park, so we went back, grabbed some rakes and spent a few hours shifting mulch around.

Grant was awesome. He used a rake, he did what he saw the grown-ups doing, and he was actually helpful! The devil works hard, but Grant works harder. We did this for hours mind you. He took breaks to play with a little girl there (who he told me in confidence is his best friend), but mostly, he raked.

After the ribbon-cutting, I needed to hustle the boys back home (Eleanor stayed a bit longer with Bob) so I could clean the kitchen. My parents were coming over for dinner, and the house was a mess.

While I did the dishes, Grant kept busy with Henry. He also got his backpack out and was carefully packing and unpacking his swim stuff.

After my parents arrived, Bob suggested we pick up some cheese and other nibbles while the manicotti cooked. Quite naturally, Grant and I went to the store (second time that day!) He insisted on taking a purse, just like a grown-up.

Back at home, I fed the kids first, and then the grown-ups sat down to eat. Grant carried his bowl from the kitchen counter over to the big table, because he always likes to sit with the grown-ups. He sits (ish, usually a combination of hovering around the right place setting) and he makes conversation, and he beams at everyone. While we lingered over our plates, he finished up, got down, and played with a large cardboard box and one of his bigger cars.

After my parents left, it was time to bundle him off to bed. He has a box of books he loves (the box looks like a book, and inside are 12 small board books), and we only made it through four of the books in it before he asked for cuddles. He was getting comfortable and closing his eyes when he whispered to me about the tractors at the park. At bedtime, Grant has started to bring up things that happened during his day that he needs discussion around. Sometimes it’s how loud motorcycles are, whether fireworks are scary, if we did something particularly fun, etc. Last night, it was the two tractors that were moving the mulch around. One was little(er) and one was absolutely massive. We whispered a little about how cool they were, and then he drifted off to sleep, clearly exhausted by his very good day.

Impact over money

You can say that a fatal design flaw killed all these people, but that’s actually just another way of saying that money did.

Crash Course: How Boeing’s Managerial Revolution Created the Max 737 Disaster

This article is so fraught and terrifying that if you don’t feel like you need to throw up while reading it, you may not be actually human. The author, Maureen Tkacik, goes into great detail about how Boeing, contorted into a money-making business instead of an airplane-making business, ended up where they are today. Where they are today (and have been for the past 30 years) is prepared to cut corners on their magic flying tube machines in order to appear valuable to Wall Street.

My dad worked for both McDonnell Douglas and GE, building jet engines and testing them (by flying them up high, turning everything off, and then seeing how long it took to turn everything back on). I sent him this article, which I sort of feel badly for doing, because even though he’s so long gone from those companies that he has no involvement, I think it must still be disturbing to read this. He texted me back and hour and a half later to say that he knew Brian Rowe at GM, and he was a guiding light for my dad (and he met his family on the 1972 world tour). He knew Harry Stonecipher, and knew he went to Boeing, but not that he emulated Jack Welch and not that Neutron Jack canned him. It all feels a little close.

But any time we look to the bottom line as the marker of success, instead of what is actually happening, we are all complicit in these kinds of things. The things that are most needed, the best ideas, humans — all of these are not actually translatable into cash, and when we try, the real trouble begins.


To start, you should know I’m 38.

I saw a very young-looking girl leaning out of a pickup truck today, smoking. She looked about 11 or 12, maybe 13. And I thought “she looks like she shouldn’t be smoking” and then I had an internal debate about what the smoking age is, and decided it’s not (?) 16, and then landed on “well, maybe she’s 18 and is just lucky to look young.” AND THAT WAS NOT A THOUGHT I WANTED TO HAVE.

We need to stop infantilizing women to the point that we constantly think that younger is better and the younger the better. It’s insane and demeaning and insulting, and I’m still getting it wrong, despite knowing better! That’s how pervasive it is!

I had a talk with my friend Ricky recently about how much harder it is to fight against a pervasive idea than a new concept. There’s a david/goliath thing with a big new concept, where you have a definite thing to fight against. But when something is pervasive, it’s exhausting to constantly bring up these little things over and over and over. People are fairly familiar with this when it comes to microaggressions. Age for women is that.

At lunch today I went into a little meal prep place to check it out, and ended up chatting with the owner. She interrupted herself to ask if I went to the local school. I said I did in elementary school, but went to the local private school for high school. In an effort to pin down whether we knew each other at the time, she told me her age, which is my age. It was an interesting way to go about it — usually you’d say “I graduated in ’99,” but for whatever reason, it felt normal to have a conversation that went “I’m 38.” “I’m 38 too!” That’s new in a way that I haven’t experienced since I was about 7. (We know each other.)

I get a lot of double-takes on my ID, and I think that is mostly to do with my hair. For reference:

However, while wine tasting this past weekend, I got ID’d twice to taste. I think it was just winery policy to ask everyone for ID at those two places. That’s all good. However, at one the woman looked at my ID, double-taked, then said “I did not expect that.” And I don’t know what that means! And I don’t know why it’s still niggling in my brain. Who cares.

I guess I still care, since I’ve been indoctrinated into feeling badly about being An Age. I also firmly reject that! I love being 38! It’s the best! Hands down, it’s been my best year to date. You know what’s going to be so awesome? 39! Holy shit, I cannot wait! So much fun stuff is gonna happen when I’m 39! I can already tell! And 40 is going to be the tits!

Real talk: I love getting grey hair. You may not be able to tell I love it, since my hair is colored (gasp, don’t tell anyone), but I genuinely feel so distinguished with grey hair. I may not actually be august in any sense of the word, but I enjoy the association. And wrinkles! I adore crows feet. You know how you can tell that something is well-loved? It’s got stains and is worn and has patina? That’s my face, to me. It’s lived in. I’m comfortable with it. I like the signs of aging, even though we are really supposed to hate those!

I have “old” parents (they had me at nearly 40), so I have always thought old isn’t whatever age my parents are. They’re currently 76, so by my lights, 76 isn’t old yet. Photos tell me this isn’t quite accurate, but memory tells me that they’ve always had grey hair and wrinkles. I can tell you the feel of my mom’s soft creased cheek. I know my dad’s beard’s shade of white. These genuinely beautiful things about them are there because they’re well lived. And they’re also happy with themselves, and I feel really lucky to have grown up around that.

But I still reflexively thought a little kid was lucky to look like an even littler kid. I’m so disappointed in myself, not to mention sort of grossed out. Tomorrow is a new day to be determined to fight against the insidious message that women are more valuable as girls, and an old woman is irrelevant. All female types are valuable, whether a baby, a kid, a girl, a teen, or a woman. Whether they were born that way or came to it later in life. Our lives are valuable at any age.

Round and round and round and round and round and round

I heard Grant in his room over the weekend singing to himself. He loves Wheels on the Bus, but he gets caught in an infinite loop. I tried to sneak a video of him, but he caught me. It’s long, but it pays off.

The cats have learned to be particularly tolerant of his manhandling of them. If you turn up the volume you’ll hear an annoying Youtuber in the background because the twins were watching some Youtube at the same time. Ignore that best you can.

Stark was getting a solo performance, to his obvious delight.

Finger Lakes

This weekend, Bob and I took an overnight trip to the Finger Lakes. If you’re not familiar with the Finger Lakes, you are missing out. The Finger Lakes are a series of lakes in central NY created by receding glaciers. They’re deep and narrow, and they look kinda like fingers, hence the name.

We started by driving to Hammondsport, at the southern tip of Keuka Lake, then worked our way eventually to Geneva, at the northern tip of Seneca Lake. The drive was absurdly pretty. It was very interesting to see where there was leaf change, and where there wasn’t. Some sides of the lake get cooler weather than the other side (despite the narrowness, or maybe because of it, I’m not a meteorologist), and so white wine grapes may be planted at one side and red wine grapes may be planted on the other shore. Similarly, sometimes the leaves will begin changing in some places and not others.

We had dinner at a favorite winery of ours, Billsboro, and enjoyed their legendary pizza on the patio. We stayed in a historic townhouse in downtown Geneva, and were then able to walk to Opus for breakfast burritos and cold brew. On our way home, we drove down the eastern edge of Seneca, hitting our all-time-favorite winery, Silver Springs, and Watkins Glen for lunch. We grabbed lunch at a little deli called Holy Cow (because the cow is dead — I had tuna) and ate at the lakeside park. Then drove through the bucolic scenery back home to rescue my parents from our children.