Gone and Gone

Remember the movie, “Cocoon” with Wilford Brimley and Jessica Tandy where they think they discover the fountain of youth in a swimming pool?

These days I feel like I can relate.

I was flipping through a college pamphlet that came in the mail for my son. Inside, young people surrounded by brick buildings and trees turning yellow in autumn were walking happily to class. They looked ready for what life awaits them around the corner.

As I made my way through the campus of my future school (less than three weeks, but who’s counting?!) I came across a dining room filled with what looked like high school cheerleading squads. I remember being a cheerleader in high school and attending USC and Pepperdine University with my squads and thinking how much fun it was to stay the week in dorms. And I watched as these young cheerleaders cried in the hallway on their phones…and boy do I remember THOSE days too. One word: Drama.

Yesterday I went into Walgreens for a few things after getting my haircut. The salesperson checking me out asked, gingerly, if I had any discounts. “Huh?” I responded. “You know, like AARP.” She says.

Oh.

“No.”

Her response: “Well, um, do you qualify for AARP because if you do I can still give you a discount.”

Fuck the discount.

I ask her, “What age do you have to be to get an AARP card?”

“Fifty-Five, I think.” Is her reply.

Fuck. Fuck. And Shit.

I kindly tell her I am many, more than a few several (SEVERAL!!) years away from a stupid AARP card.

A few days ago I am on PinCrackTrest and I stumble onto site after site of mommy ideas. Fun things to do with toddlers. How to get your kids to bed at a decent hour. Cute classroom ideas for kindergarten. Fun kids lunch ideas. Mommy support groups. Images of young mommy’s walking with their strollers.

And I realized I am no longer that mom to really young kids anymore.

I’ve got two teenagers and one twenty year old.

Dammit.

Why does it feel sometimes that youth is just – gone in a split second? Wasn’t I just that cheerleader trying to make my squad get along despite 16 year-old drama? Wasn’t I just that mom of a kindergartener, a toddler, and a newborn struggling with clever ideas for potty training and creating ant logs out of raisins and celery?

I feel sometimes like I am stuck in the middle somewhere. Not a young adult heading to college anymore and not a young mother of young children anymore.

And I think back to that fountain of youth and you bet your sweet ass I would jump right in and splash until I could be young again…

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On Books

The biggest issue/fear/concern I have about going back to college is the potential limitation I will have on my fiction reading. I hope like hell figure that I will squeeze in reading regular ole fiction somewhere between homework, studying, and the nine thousand history books I will have to read.

And I read anything (well, almost. I draw the line at romance) and in any format. I love my Kindle and I love paper books. When I read on my Kindle I get spoiled with the ability to look up words and read in a dark room. When I read paper books I love being able to actually see how long a chapter is going to be and how far along I am in a book by where my bookmark is…and not in percentages.

I have spent all summer trying to absorb as many books as I possibly can through some sort of magical sunshine and sparkly cold water technique. It isn’t working. I’m almost paralyzed to pick something up because I only have about 5 weeks until school starts and I want the books to all be GOOD.

I’ve got a stack of at least a dozen books from the library and another ten or more on hold. I’m a fairly fast reader (I average about 1-2 books a week) but I’m confident I’ll never get through all that I want to read…which is why I’m hoping I’ll be able to read fiction while taking a full load at school.

Some of the titles that I’m anxious to get my hands on and read:

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North
“The Witching Hour” By Anne Rice (although I’ve read it once I never got around to books 2 and 3 in the series so I want to re-read it, something I VERY seldom ever do)
“Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie
“Joe Steele” by Harry Turtledove
“The Romanov Prophecy” by Steve Berry
“Thiefmaker” by D.B. Jackson
“The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” by Natasha Pulley
“House of Leaves” by Mark Danielewski
“The Hanged Man” by P.N. Elrod
“The New York Trilogy” by Paul Auster

It’s pretty obvious that I LOVE historical fiction but I also love a good thriller, paranormal/sci fi, alternative history, and mainstream fiction. Again, there isn’t much I won’t read except I tend to stay away from romance and super fluffy books only because I need more meat to keep me reading.

I’d love to know what YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS ARE?

Here is a QUICK list of SOME of my all-time favorite books – books that are just well written, well developed, and keeps you on the edge of your seat READING!

“11/22/63” By Stephen King
“Time and Again” by Jack Finney (don’t let the funky book cover discourage you!)
“All the Light Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
“The House of Special Purpose” by John Boyne
“The Mummy” by Anne Rice
“Kane & Abel” by Jeffrey Archer

For a longer list I would have to go and search my Goodreads account and I’m too lazy right now. These are only the half dozen that came immediately to mind and/or I’ve read in the last year or two.

Please share with me your favorite books because I need a bigger stack from the library!

Back To School – Again

In just over 6 weeks I will be going back to school. (Again.)

And I’m scared shitless.

Will I be able to keep up? Do I remember how to take notes? What kind of backpack should I get? Do I remember how to study or write papers? Do students use laptops to take notes or do they still use quill and bottles of ink like they did the first time I went to college? How will I stay awake during the dead space in my schedule right in the middle of my normally sit-on-the-couch-read-and-nap time between oh let’s say 2ish and 3ish? Will I look like a geek on the first day of school trying to find my classes? What if I’m called on? (They don’t do that, do they? Nah, I should be fine.)

And – why the hell didn’t I just sign up for online classes?!? Dammit to hell and my idea that I wanted to actually BE in a classroom with a real live professor. Blah blah blah.

My husband says I’ll be just fine. My family and friends tell me it will be okay and I’ll do great and it’s all like riding a bike – except I haven’t been on a bike since I was a pony-tail-wearing-brace-face-tween. Oh Gawd, what have I done?

I’m taking a language because that and an English Literature class were the only two outside my major of history that I apparently didn’t satisfy when I was getting my first bachelor’s degree. Anyway – a language. I am horrible with languages. Some people have an ear and I don’t. I took seven years of Spanish. I attempted many years of Spanish. Attempted. The highest grade I ever got was a ‘C’ and I skipped for joy at the end of it. But, for some reason unbeknownst to me that class didn’t transfer or I only took a semester when I need a year. (What.Ever.)

Anyway.

I’m taking American Sign Language. All summer I have checked out DVDs from the library to prepare me for sign language. I’m not 100% certain I will have the “ear” for ASL either but it was really my only hope in life to pass a language requirement.

I have an English Literature class and two history courses this semester: U.S. History (Hi, basic-ole-history) and something they call The Study of History – which I am very excited about.

Yes, four classes.

Because I’m a nut job.

And because I want this second bachelor’s finished as quickly as possible so I can move onto/into grad school. If I don’t fail anything (as the History Chair kindly informed me) I should be finished with this degree by the end of next year. I have fifteen classes to take and after ASL and English Literature all the classes will be upper level history.

Hours and hours of history. Ah, bliss…..

As long as I can get past looking like a granny on her first day of school carrying a David Cassidy backpack with matching lunchbox.

Now I am off to order some of my books online from Amazon (golly gee, you can do that now!) so I can start reading them ahead of time. I’m old, aren’t I?