Oct 172016

Several years ago I answered the door one Halloween night, and one of the accompanying adults was a wife/mom about my age, or maybe a year or two younger, from down our street. She was wearing a good Wonder Woman costume. And it fit her very well.

I don’t remember managing to get anything witty out. I think it was just mostly a look of admiration and exchanged smiles. I can visualize a wink from one or the other of us easily, but I’ve probably added that in the years since just because it would have been so cool. Door closed. Elapsed time: 10 seconds.

Now I think this sort of flirtation is not only harmless, but actually one of the things that genuinely enhance our quality of life. I liked her. She liked that I liked her. I liked that she liked that I liked her. What a marvelous little charge for she and I to enjoy, both at the moment and then for a little while after. Lea actually came home from trick-or-treating with the boys and wanted to make sure I’d seen her. Heh.

(And, oh, there’s this: we were both, you know, 40, with attendant maturity levels and sensibilities.)

A sexy Wonder Woman costume intended and sized for an adult woman is one thing. But folks, things have gotten way out of hand for much younger ladies. I started casually reading this piece half-expecting it to be a possibly overreacting mom of an older adolescent girl. Then I discovered that the mother was upset about a she-devil costume with a super-short skirt, red fishnet stockings, and knee-high boots—that her eight-year-old wanted.

I am sad and furious that there is a (clearly thriving) market for slutty Halloween costumes for prepubescent girls. This mom is even facing “all my friends are doing it” backlash from her daughter, which here’s hoping she’ll endure in the service of larger principles, but sheesh.

Do we really have significant numbers of parents now who genuinely don’t realize that there shouldn’t be any such thing as an eight-year-old “sexy nurse”?

There is a good discussion at the above link about how to healthily address what a sexy costume means and doesn’t mean, with good transition into why and how we seek approval and what it means to honor yourself. I’m pleased to see this good message in the Huffington Post, just as I’m appalled that it’s necessary.

 Posted by at 9:59 am
Oct 142016

“The moment I have dreaded for nearly six years has finally arrived.” – Jean-Luc Picard

He was talking about a Borg invasion of the Federation. It resonates for me for something far graver.

kosmosiI am now in imminent danger of not being able to help my children with their math homework.

I had an up-and-down relationship with mathematics once I got to high school, and thereafter. It started ignominiously when I chose my Algebra I classroom for a foolish homework showdown with my teacher.

But then the next year, I really dug geometry. I had a teacher I enjoyed, but I also loved the subject matter. Geometry was much more philosophy than mathematics to me. The definitions of truth and reality always rumbled right beneath the surface, and I liked that.

Algebra II was mostly fine, but then…trigonometry.

I had a good teacher for trigonometry too, but trig was the beginning of higher math not ever really “clicking over” for me. It just never turned me on. I had to work. It wasn’t intuitive. I didn’t get much satisfaction out of finishing. It was a slog. It was when I started thinking maybe I didn’t need to pursue an engineering career.

I got a liberal arts degree, managed to make a reasonable living with it, and mostly lived happily ever after, except that one critical academic planning error I made was kicking my only required college math class down the calendar until it was in the next-to-last quarter of my college attendance. (Should have been early, Bo. You know, more chronologically adjacent to the rest of your math education?)

The class was called Business Calculus, and it’s what you took if you weren’t going to enter the Calculus I-IV sequence. A kindly high school teacher a handful of years from retirement taught it, and I was the only upperclassman in it. I sweated and bled for the B I got in that class—one of the hardest-earned grades I ever received—as the kids around me sighed, propped their heads on their elbows, and effortlessly filled in the blanks on exams.

Grrr. Let’s write essays next, you little snot-nose.

I am prouder of that B than I am many of my As.

Now my younger son is well into algebra, and my older son is knocking on trig. Thankfully, they’re mostly proceeding apace. But we’re already down to about 50% whether I’ll be able to answer a math homework question (or point in the right direction) without further research, and Nate’s only in ninth grade.

May be time for Dad to find a book or two of his own.

 Posted by at 10:31 am
Oct 052016

We’re back from our usually-annual junket to the Alabama Gulf Coast, with suitably recharged wills and souls. A few highlights (click images for larger): The Hole I always wanted to dig a hole up on the dry part of the sand, and go deeply enough to hit water. My boys and their friend Jake actually […]

 Posted by at 11:23 pm
Aug 302016

My lovely wife was a recent unwitting accomplice in an olfactory crime of surprising magnitude. We’ve made pretty good friends with Aldi. We’re not besties. Probably won’t ever be. Really, they’re rare, but when we find an occasional Aldi-branded misstep, they’ve usually whiffed pretty badly. In our experience, there aren’t many Aldi-branded products hanging out […]

 Posted by at 10:15 pm
Aug 192016

I happened upon a shorter version of this story in a comment this morning. I needed to read it today, and I also want to retell it. Three years ago, Aaron and I were riding the elevator down from the beach condo at which we’d just had a vacation. It was the last elevator ride of […]

 Posted by at 1:43 pm

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