The Friday Five!

1. It’s been a full week since my daughter’s birthday extravaganza began, and I am STILL tired. Man. Up until this year, we’ve done one big party with family/friends at our house, which always was fun but stressful. So this year, I decided to outsource the party to a local tumbling place for the kid part of things, then do a lunch at my mother-in-law’s for the family. Simpler, right? Well….not so much. Because somehow we ended up with a Friday night dinner out, Saturday kid party, Sunday morning with my parents and THEN the family thing on Sunday afternoon. So much freaking birthday! This is a lesson I should have learned by now: the more I try to simplify, the more complicated I make things. Next year I think I’ll be back to one big thing, rather than a bunch of smaller ones that are even more stressful. Live and learn, I guess. The learning part is harder, though.

2. That said, my kid DID have a great birthday weekend. Lots of cake, cupcakes, toys, and princesses. We are currently drowning in both cardboard and plastic. I am, personally, the environment’s worst nightmare. Which is why all the cardboard is headed to recycling and, while my kid is away for a few hours this weekend, I will be doing another one of my Stealth Toy Culling Attacks. All I need is some time alone, a garbage bag, and determination. I go through ALL her stuff (and there is SO MUCH OF IT, although I can only blame myself, I know) picking out things she hasn’t played with in recent memory. Fill up a bag (or two), then stow it in the attic and hope she doesn’t notice what’s missing. Sad truth: she usually does. But at least in the attic it’s out of sight, if not exactly out of mind. That muffled sound you hear? It’s about a million stuffed animals, begging to be released from their dark storage. Sorry, guys!

3. Last night, I was so excited to sit down and watch the Video Music Awards. I am a VMA fan from way back, since I grew up (literally) with MTV. But the more I watched, the more I realized, yet again, that I Am Old. I found myself squinting at the TV, unable to tell the difference between rappers. I did recognize One Direction–props to me!—but my husband did not, so I found myself explaining who they were every time they popped up on screen. Me: “They’re like the New Kids on the Block, but British and current.” Which reminded me of when I was at GMA and Jennifer Lawrence was there promoting The Hunger Games.  I was talking with one of the cameramen and a stagehand and neither one of them had read the books. “What are they about, anyway?” they asked me. I thought for a second, then said, “It’s like Gladiator, but with teenagers.” I wonder if I could get another career going handling these kind of explanations. There’s clearly a need, right?

4. One gift my kid got, from my mom, was one of those old-school make-your-own-potholder loom sets. If you’re Old, like me, you probably made these at camp or school at one time for another. Square loom, stretch little pieces of fabric across,weave them in and out. I am so not crafty, so I had my babysitter Erika, who can make castles out of beer cartons (true story), do one with my daughter. Hers was perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I gave it to my mom, who was thrilled. Then my daughter wanted another one, so I decided to take a shot. It was pretty much a disaster. I had to pull the whole thing out, start over. My kid got bored, wandered off. I kept at it, because I am so freaking stubborn once I set my mind to something. Kid went to bed. I’m still weaving and cursing. Husband said, “Can I just remind you that it is a POTHOLDER?” I glared at him. Kept weaving. Got it done, but then had to go to bed before tackling getting it OFF the loom and doing the edges. Which I promptly started on bright and early, around 6:15, the next morning. I was going to get that thing done and use it if it KILLED me. Which it almost did. But finally, it was done. It is not perfect, not by a long shot. But I claim victory anyway!

5. Finally, despite all my denial, I can feel it: summer is ending. This week was the first in recent memory when I was driving and saw leaves falling, blowing in the wind on the road ahead. I’m sick of all my summer clothes and back in my jeans, although I will wear my flip flops until it’s too cold to deny I have to put them away. My kid is back in school, we’re already thinking about Halloween, and May seems like a distant memory. It’s hard to see my favorite season go, but on the bright side, there’s lots of fun stuff ahead. Hopefully I’ll be able to reveal the cover for my new book, THE MOON AND MORE in the coming weeks. And there’s tour planning, and promotional stuff to work out, and, um, starting another book, somehow. It’s that back to school feeling, without actually going back to school. I guess it never leaves you. And I can’t help but feel a little excited, although it is bittersweet. This summer was crazy but a good one. Here’s hoping the next is even better. That thought will get me through all those falling leaves and grey days. But as Robin Roberts says: onward.

Have a good weekend, everyone!