While watching Stranger Things.
“Just tell the mom already before she breaks her house even more!”
My Kid worries about the people on the TV.
Last year we discovered, to our great delight, that the children who live at The Paw House enjoy hobby games. It started with Munchkin, but we were able to introduce them to Oz Fluxx, and they bought Monty Python Fluxx right away. It was great fun.
So this year, we were looking forward to playing games with the boys, and we packed accordingly.
We taught them Sushi Go!, Adventure Time Fluxx, Firefly Fluxx (which we purchased at one of those independent bookstores I was writing about the other day) and Smash-Up, which we packed especially for the boys. They taught us Sheriff of Nottingham and Dragonwood.
I am not a big fan of Sheriff of Nottingham because I don’t like bluffing games (which is why we don’t own this one, despite its being featured on Tabletop.) I hate lying, and I’m not good at reading social cues, so unless I get really, really good cards, I’m pretty much screwed at a game like that. On the other hand, we LOVED Dragonwood, and plan to purchase it ASAP.
The older brother also showed us the game he’s designing, which is a set collecting game, so he’s been designing lots of cards and it’s exciting to see all the work he’s putting into it. I can’t wait to play it when he’s done designing.
But any vacation that features gaming pretty much every day after breakfast and dinner is a win.
Thanks, guys! See you soon.
I’m so sad about Gene Wilder I can’t even write about it. We have an autographed picture of him on our dining room wall that we bought at Disney. Now we’ll never ever meet him. He gave us all so much. He kept us laughing even in the face of his own great pain. I’m sorry to hear that he suffered in his last years.
I’m just so thankful that he left us so much of his work to enjoy for years to come.
But this year sucks and I really hope things improve soon.
At least, not tonight. It turns out that White Rabbit, Red Rabbit had four rush tickets available. Four! Well, I suppose that does qualify as “a limited number.” And my loyal husband went all the way into NYC to stand on line to not get tickets.
However, I’m still in the running for Wednesday’s piano bar and of course there’s Elsie Fest on Monday!!!
But I really wanted KPD to see White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, so that’s a bummer. I need more money for plays. Falsettos is coming, and I’ve already resigned myself to not seeing this production of Fiddler. Jenna Ushkowitz is singing at a benefit for dogs. Cats. Beautiful. I still haven’t seen Avenue Q!
Which begs the question: Which would I rather win, the Hamilton lottery, or the lottery lottery?
Like many families, we have several vacation traditions. Pretty much all of ours are nerdy. One of our favorite things to do in Vermont is to visit independent bookstores. There aren’t many where we live, and it’s fun to visit a really well-curated bookstore and browse the shelves, explore the nooks and crannies, and see what we can find.
As it happens, central Vermont has some excellent bookstores. We were able to visit three this trip.
On Monday, we went to Woodstock, which is a great town to visit if you ever get the chance. I had been waiting to get to a bookstore for over a week, since I finished reading the fourth Land of Stories book. I was tempted to run out and buy a copy of the new book right away, but the Kid suggested I wait and buy it in Vermont. Since I’m all about supporting independent bookstores and the Vermont economy, I was quite pleased at the suggestion.
But on Sunday, I finished the book I was reading, and so we headed to Woodstock to visit The Yankee Bookshop. It’s a nice little store. I’ve always found what I was looking for when I’ve shopped there, and they have a great kids section. Unfortunately, they weren’t letting dogs in the store that day because the owners’ dog was there and he’s not friendly to other dogs, so we didn’t get to shop much, but the Kid and I found The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odyssey right away.
On Wednesday, we went to Manchester to do back-to-school shopping, and we got to visit our favorite bookstore, Northshire Bookstore. It’s a huge store that has everything. Not just books, either. We got gifts for lots of people, and I even bought a dress there last year. The children’s section was still decorated from the Harry Potter release party earlier this summer, which the Kid loved, and we had a great time.
Then on Thursday, we were wandering around Rutland, and we found The Bookmobile, which is a used bookstore. We had such a great time there. I think we were in there for over an hour, and it’s a tiny shop. In that time, we hardly talked to each other at all, each of us browsing studiously for most of the time we were there. I found a whole bunch of Fairy Books, which means I have lots of new fairy tales to read, as well as the second book in a YA series the Kid recommended to me and a Phillip Pullman series I hadn’t known about. The Kid says I have to stop reading children’s books or people will think I’m weird, but let’s face it: that ship has sailed.
Best of all, the Kid found a button that says, “My parallel universe, my rules” that she’s added to her new jean jacket, so she’s all set for middle school next week.
I know I haven’t been writing much this week, but that’s because we’re at the dog hotel. There will be many posts generated from this trip, and most of them will come after we get home, but this one can’t wait.
We’ve been coming to The Paw House for several years now, and over the years we’ve become friends with the owners of the inn. Last year, we made friends with their kids, too, bonding over a love of board games. Now, when we’re here, the boys come over to the inn most every morning and evening to play games with us.
Last night, they invited us to their house to watch a movie in the backyard. It was lovely. Their three dogs were playing with Harpo, then Stanley settled down on the Kid’s lap and Harpo snuggled onto mine, and we watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was the Kid’s first real exposure to Monty Python. She has played Monty Python Fluxx, and we bought some novelty items for my brother’s birthday this year, but she never got any Python references before.
Even though she’s still a little young (we did skip that one scene) and thinks Python is more weird than funny (though some parts were funny) there’s something about knowing the world of references she’s just entered that makes me feel closer to her, and like we’ve taken a significant step in her nerd education. It’s like she’s one major step closer to being a grown-up nerd now.
Welcome to Python, Kid. Getting those jokes will help you find the right people in this world, even if you never become a fan. But you will become a fan. It’s Python.
One of the things that really brought me back to Broadway this past year is the Hamilton tradition known as Ham4Ham. Principally, it’s a lottery for $10 tickets in the front row (hence the name: a ticket to Hamilton in exchange for a $10 bill with Hamilton’s picture on it.) However, Lin-Manuel Miranda quickly realized when the show began that hundreds of people were lining up for a chance to win 27 tickets, and a lot of people were going to go home disappointed. So he started hosting a little, free performance before each lottery. Most are only about 5 minutes long, but this way, everyone who shows up gets something.
These performances quickly became popular on YouTube and I’ve been watching all of them. They really sucked me back in to the theater kid mentality, because during Ham4Ham, I get the sense that the actors are just having fun. Sometimes they bring in stars, other times members of the cast just do something they feel like doing, like singing Christmas carols or doing a song from the show with the parts switched. Either way, it reminds me what it was like to hang out with actors. When nerds hang out with other nerds, they make nerdy things together, and it’s fun. And of course, on Broadway, everyone is the best of the best, so their playing around is usually lots of fun to watch.
Nowadays, Ham4Ham only happens once a week, on Wednesdays (the lottery is online the rest of the week) and it’s hosted by Rory O’Malley, the current King George. This week, he plotted a reunion.
KPD and I LOVED Grease: You’re The One That I Want. We voted every week, and we voted for Laura and Max, so we were really excited when they won. I hadn’t thought about that show in ages, and it really made me smile when I remembered how much fun we had debating the strengths and weaknesses of the different actors. I remember when Max cut his hair, when Laura wore those amazing boots, and the agony each week as people were eliminated.
Best of all, I didn’t get the icky feeling I usually get from reality tv, because these were all actors getting real exposure doing what they do best, and possibly getting a part in a Broadway show that was sure to sell well, at least for a while.
I was really excited to see that Max and Laura are still doing well. This was a great idea. Thanks, Rory!
Sorry, I can’t write today. I have to:
“I don’t want to do it right now,” came a shout from upstairs. I had just walked in the door from work, so I assumed the Kid was talking to KPD, and I had walked in on the middle of a conversation. I was wrong.
“Hi,” I called up the stairs.
“What are you doing here?” Came the reply.
“I live here.”
“No, you don’t.”
Well, this was interesting. KPD came over to give me a kiss hello, and explained that the Kid had been waiting all day to make cookies with me. The penny dropped. “Ah. She doesn’t want to do it right now,” I told him.
The Kid is a little bit nervous about starting Middle School in the fall, so we got her a math tutor for the summer. At first, she was resistant to the idea of doing math in the summer, but evidently the Teacher KPD hired is excellent, because the Kid took an immediate liking to her and hasn’t complained since the tutoring actually started.
On the first day of tutoring, when I got home from work, the Kid said, “I saw a DIY video about making pi cookies for Pi Day, and I want to make them for my tutor.”
“What a great idea,” I replied. “But why not wait and do it at the end of the summer, as a thank-you present?”
The Kid liked that idea, and we didn’t really talk about it again until this weekend, when the Kid said, “We have to make the pi cookies on Tuesday, because Wednesday is my last tutoring session. Will you be home on Tuesday?”
“I’ll be home after work,” I said. “Plenty of time to make cookies.”
The time had arrived, so we convinced her to come down and make the cookies. I really just helped with mixing them up, then left the Kid to cut them and put them on trays. She handled the rest except for putting them in and out of the oven. The Kid looked up images of pi so that she could choose a font that worked with the icing we had. She pulled out all the sprinkles she could find in the cabinet. When the cookies were cool, the Kid decorated them herself, and I’m really impressed with the result. I think her tutor will be really touched.
I was thinking about Elsie Fest and how I miss hearing Chris Colfer sing. And it occurred to me that he wouldn’t even need to learn any new songs if he wanted to sing at Elsie Fest. He could just sing all the Broadway songs Kurt sang on Glee, and he’d have a set. Then I started thinking about it, and I made a list:
And if he was feeling like being nice to me, he’d also sing “Blackbird.” And a couple of duets with Darren Criss, but that’s neither here nor there.
I’m looking at this list, and holy hell, it’s no wonder Kurt didn’t sing more often! These are just the solos and just the solos that come from Broadway. It’s also no wonder Chris Colfer has taken a break from singing. These are some of the most challenging songs in all of Broadway. In three of them (“Defying Gravity,” “Being Alive,” and “Bring Him Home,”) he had to convincingly out-sing Lea Michele, and make it look easy. He had to sell all of them to a mainstream audience. And he did all of this while working sixteen-hour days and (in his spare time) writing a series of best-selling children’s books. Oh, and a movie that he also starred in.
I’d totally buy that album.
So, I get that singing this set would probably kill a person, but Chris, just pick a few, then sing (I don’t know) “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “You Make Me Feel So Young” with Darren, tell a few stories, and we’ll all be totally happy, I promise. Or sing something else. I don’t care. Just please sing!!!