Alas, I am reduced to bullet points. Next week I’ll catch up, I swear!
• Today is AJ’s birthday. He is 12. TWELVE! How did this happen? Don’t breathe a word to me about next year. Today is also my father’s birthday. He is somewhat older, as one might expect, but he wears it well. And unlike AJ, he also reads here sometimes, so can we have a nice round of happy birthday? Thank you!
Last weekend, my parents came to visit. We made them take long rides on the subway, ciimb up and down dozens of stairs, and take a forced march across Prospect Park. In short, we were the perfect hosts. We fear they will never return.
• We ordered AJ’s birthday cake from the ice cream shop named after a Walt Whitman poem. AJ and I have taken to going there after band practice on Saturday afternoons and not just because it’s the best ice cream on the planet (and this is no exaggeration — believe me, I know) but also because, as AJ put it last weekend, “it’s nice to go there.” They have an artist on staff who draws lots of lovely cartooning things on the chalk boards and on the flavor signs. She also draws signs for birthday cakes, so we asked for the White Sox logo. When we went to pick it up, the guy who always helps us behind the counter told us that the artist is from Chicago and that it had pained her to draw it because she’s a Cubs fan.I just posted a thank you on the shop’s twitter page and heard back from the artist herself — turns out her brother’s a White Sox fan, so she’s used to it. And the city feels just a little bit smaller.
* Work is hellish this week, as we’re about to release a new toy and are in the middle of the expected insanity of fixing all the last minute broken stuff. Tempers are short. I have also stopped to consider whether in the interest of getting things right I have pissed some people off. It is my job to get them right, but you also don’t want to be the one pissing people off. I am tryng to make amends without backing down, a difficult dance to a complicated rhythm. No wonder I’ve trod on a few toes.
• I have been reading a lot. In the last week or so, I’ve finished Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth (pretty good, but I didn’t love it), Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (I did love this, even though the author, Roban Sloan, is not the stylist that McEwan is), and The Holy or the Broken, a book about Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by music journalist Alan Light. The latter is a really interesting book, but I wish it could have dug a little deeper. But he asks really interesting questions about a song that, after a bad turn at the starting gate has become all things to all people (hint: the most interesting question is, why?). I am now reading Jennifer Egan’s Welcome to the Goon Squad, which I started ages ago when Cranky loaned me the paperback back when I was traveling all the time. At that point, the book was perpetually wherever I didn’t have time to read and I abandoned it fairly early on. But I’m very much enjoying it. What are you reading?
• We had a lovely visit with some Chicago friends over the weekend who came into town for Passover. We had drinks at MOMA and talked about all kinds of things while AJ played games on his phone . Not our finest parenting hour, but we came away with movie recommendations (The Divan, Hero Dreams of Sushi) and then walked them to Grand Central Station. Sadly, we missed Tilda Swinton sleeping and Alvin Ailey and horses at the station.
• For the first time in years, I have a full Holy Week schedule — I’m playing and singing at church most nights this week. Trying to find time to practice the Telemann concerto I’m playing for Easter Vigil is going to be a challenge this week. But hopefully it will all be somewhat therapeutic.
• Next week Mr. Spy and AJ are going back to Chicago without me. I couldn’t take time off work. They will celebrate his birthday there with friends and family and I will be home alone. I’d feel sorry for myself except that I’m also a little looking forward to it. I’m planning tofu dinners and chick flicks while I work on the taxes, which really may kill me this year, with or without an accountant.
And now, if you will excuse me, I need to finish picking the short list in a toymaking competition. Tough decisions need to be made, but it’s an entertaining task. And once I figure out what my priorities are, it shouldn’t be that hard. But isn’t that always the way it is?