Every Day Discussion

Every Day cover

One of the things I love most about my job is my teen book discussion group. It started out small and was mostly girls, but it has grown over time and now has a few boys as well. Last month I was surprised when the meeting had only boys in attendance. This month, it was 50-50 — closer to the typical mix.

We had an amazing discussion of the book “Every Day” by David Levithan. It is not for younger teens, but was good with these high-schoolers. The book could be described as Quantum Leap meets teen romance — when the romance has really good character development. It is essentially a highly engaging commentary on life, love, relationships, family, humanity, gender, race told in 40+ daily vignettes.

Because the main character is only a human essence or a soul, it allowed a very understated exploration of gender and orientation, though a couple of the teens found it more difficult to identify with the character, because s/he was in a different body each day. I thought it was a brilliant way to explore the human condition in many of its aspects.

Admiration for David Levithan!

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Family Tree Recharge

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Kai enhances a Christmas morning surprise

My account of Christmas 2013 would not be complete without a mention of the way the day started. I had trouble sleeping and ended up lazing around until 11:30 am. When I did get up, I went downstairs to discover that my son had put up a string of lights and lined up a couple of gifts and cards on the mantle. It was so sweet and thoughtful, it brought a tear to my eye. It was completely unexpected, which is the best kind of surprise of all. Robert, Sonny, Wendy, Gary and I will celebrate our own nuclear family Christmas on Saturday.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Today was an occasion to gather together with as much of the family as available. That amounted to 27, with only 2 absent because of work.  The experience of family togetherness is very intense for me. If there were a scale for measuring happy-happy-joy-joy (citation, retrieved 12.26.13: http://nicktoons.nick.com/videos/clip/happy-happy-joy-joy.html), then it would have to be recalibrated to measure how I feel on days like this. That is not to say that everything is always lollipops and rainbows, but my family is fabulous in its ability to remain civil and controlled and go along until things even back out. But, today was perfection.

We hung out and talked and snacked, then ate dinner and cleaned up and talked some more and finally gathered together for the annual white elephant gift exchange. We have a blast gifting each other with bizarre and random items, some gently and some not so gently used. Several years ago there was one particular white elephant gift that caused a bit of a stir – a stir which has continued to grow in intensity over the years. I’m proud to say it was a gift I bestowed on the family – and it shall receive its own posting tomorrow.

For me, today spanned the emotional spectrum from serene bliss to uncontrolled laughter. The highlights were 1) hearing that my youngest sister will be moving back into the area after living away since her college days and 2) looking at jokey things from FB and YouTube, then laughing ’til we cried.

I also adored spending time with nephews, nieces and great nephews and nieces. I treasure them all.

Here is a sampling of pictures from the day.

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Mom’s Family Tree Table

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There was no way to get everyone in the picture, but this is most of us

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White elephant gift exchange

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Keeping Zoe busy – we had fun eating and measuring and pouring

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Liam is content to keep himself busy