Lots of odds and ends have been running through my mind the past couple of days but haven't got written down--The Hurt over The Wedding overshadowed all else. One last note on The Wedding, then I'll shut up about it. SisterC said several months ago that it was too bad that [The Niece] couldn't have two weddings, one for all the people who are perfectly coiffed and where everything matches just so and another one for the rest of us; she had it exactly right. I'm looking at this as the bifurcation of my family that I thought wouldn't happen until both my parents passed away. It's a little earlier than expected, but it was obvious it was going to happen some day. At least now we've gotten it over with.
KidThree has a friend who is one week younger than she (seventeen). This friend already has two children by two different men, both of whom are, or have been, incarcerated. These children have already been in the custody of Child Protective Services because of at least one arrest of their mother. This girl is chastising KidThree for not having jumped on the 'Have Your Babies Now Because You Might Die Tomorrow' bandwagon. That mindset is so prevalent in the 'hood, there is such a sad fatalism inherent in it. My hope is that the example of Michelle Obama will help give girls from the 'hood another way to look at their lives, to see that another road might just might be open to them. No, Michelle isn't from the 'hood, but she is from a one-bedroom apartment on Chicago's South Side, where she shared a living room (divided by a curtain) with her brother. With the help and support of her parents, she got a world-class education, worked in powerful jobs, and built a family with a man with dreams and a future. I know KidThree is inspired by Michelle's example and hope other girls are, too.
More news from the 'hood: KidThree's bio-mother's wife is in prison for a year for shooting at KidThree's sister's car when the sister and her babydaddy were in it. The speed with which that happened was amazing. The shooting happened early this past summer, and already the wife is sentenced? Then why did it take a full year for even the first trial date in the case of KidThree's shooting, and then eight months of continuances, then a month of trial, and we still won't have the sentencing for two more days? That's quite a disparity in timelines. Maybe there was no trial, just a plea agreement (I don't have the details on how that sentence came about). Our peculiar justice system.
A few days ago, I took KidThree to visit her grandmother and on the way home, we stopped at her bio-mother's home to say hello. That home isn't the safest place in the world to visit, so we stayed in the car and KidThree just visited with her mother through the window for a few minutes. As we were pulling away from the curb and approaching the intersection where normally I would have turned left, a car approached that intersection from one side. As the car reached the intersection, the driver turned its lights off. KidThree knew just what to do: "Mom, don't turn, keep going straight, they just turned off their lights, keep going, don't turn!" I know a fair amount about protecting the pair of us in that environment, including that I always need to listen to KidThree when she gives instructions in that tone of voice. I didn't turn, did keep going, kept going until the next major road, then got the two of us out of Dodge but quick. In my rearview mirror, I could see the darkened car rolling quietly around the corner, headed in the direction whence we had just come. I had KidThree call her mother an hour later to make sure she was still alive. She was. Whatever was going on, that time it didn't have to do with her.
Yesterday I finished "The Brass Verdict" by Michael Connelly. It was good, but not great. The protagonist was from "The Lincoln Lawyer," with Harry Bosch as a secondary character. The book just didn't grab me like most of his others. The plot was interesting but I didn't care much about most of the characters, with the exception of the protagonist's daughter. I'm not sure just what the difference was: Was it that I didn't know this protagonist as well as I knew Harry Bosch? That the plot was somewhat formulaic? That the 'accused' was such an obvious toad? I just don't know. I'll keep reading Michael Connelly, but might not be in such a hurry to reserve his next one. I've been annoyed with Michael Connelly before, also when he departed from writing about Harry Bosch. In his novel "Blood Work," the protagonist was a survivor of a heart transplant who was approached by a woman who wanted him to turn his celebrated doggedness to working on a case for her. That worked for me. The characters made sense and developed an adult relationship. Where I had the problem was in the next novel with those same characters--in that one, the woman then turned into a whining harpy because of that same doggedness of the protagonist. As a woman, I seriously resented Connelly's using her that way. He felt the need for a harpy for plot development, so made a previously intelligent woman into one. Not fair. Not fair at all. Connelly isn't like some male authors whose female characters have no more depth than Betty and Veronica, but he still doesn't let his female characters be fully complex and rational people.
Now I'm reading "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do," by Tom Vanderbilt and am thoroughly enjoying it. He writes as though he's next to his readers on a bench that overlooks a freeway and he's explaining what's going on with the drivers as their cars whiz past. It's a lot of fun to read, but not very flattering to those of us who prefer to think of themselves as rational creatures (see above paragraph).
And now for something completely different: Over the past couple of years, I've been working on writing down some of the 'recipes' where I usually just put in some of this and enough of that and, oh yeah, a little of that other thing until it all comes out just right. Since KidOne and KidTwo no longer live at home (and KidTwo no longer lives on the same continent), they can't always come watch me cook when they want to know how to make something like egg soup or applesauce or chicken with garlic gravy. So, I have to try to quantify things for them. This is doing strange things to my cooking. If I usually just add something until it looks right, stopping to measure it along the way changes things--how do I know what that sort of a sprinkle looks like when it's all gathered up in a measuring spoon? Yesterday the victim was a batch of applesauce, where I seriously overestimated what the usual sprinkle of cinnamon would look like when in a measuring spoon and so got way too much cinnamon in it. The funny thing was, the applesauce was good, it just wasn't quite applesauce--it's more like apple pie candy that is sort of runny. (KidThree thoroughly approved!) We'll eat it, but I'll measure a bit more circumspectly on the next batch before writing down a recipe for applesauce.
Today is KidThree's first day going to school on the special bus and then spending the entire day at school. I'll still go pick her up, as that bus system doesn't allow for scheduling return trips until the time actually arrives for the return trip, and then the trip is done only when timing allows. That can make for long waits, which won't work for us. But it will be nice to have the bus do the morning trip--I won't have to deal with helping KidThree get ready for school while also packing up the babies into their carriers. Picture me cautiously optimistic.