Ali just read "Lolita" for school and it's been the topic of many a conversation around the dinner table or in the car.
She's been disgusted by the premise but intrigued with the writing style of the book. We've tried to get her to stop focusing on the actual relationship and to think about the motivations and explanation for the reprehensible behavior. She has to give a speech and offer a 3D prop.
We talked about it going home last weekend. She was planning to get a block of styrofoam that use for floral arrangements and carve it into a brain. She was going to stick toothpicks in it with paper flags attached, with references to the brain abnormalities of both HH and Lolita.
We found a mannequin head instead. I came home the other day to find her hands-to-elbows covered in enough green to make the Hulk envious. (I was going to say green with envy, but, well, that seemed redundant.) Anyway, she had carved a really creepy looking brain in the top of the head. It's pretty gross. But I suspect will be effective. She was planning on sticking toothpicks or wooden skewers in it with flags detailing the array of mental illnesses she'd identified. I don't know that she'll need more than this to showcase her theory that the main characters needed treatment.
I kind of want to see her give the report. She was the only one in her class to pick "Lolita" out of about 30 options for the pre-AP English 10 class. She's had a few weeks to get over her initial, visceral reaction to the book. Her classmates won't have had that opportunity.
"This was a real thing. It actually happened," she said. "It was pretty awful but the writing style was pretty cool."
In other Alison news, she's been selected to be among a group of young people to take part in the Richard Lugar Series for Excellence in Public Service Next Generation. I am super pumped about this, mostly because her selection had zero to do with either Jeff or me and 100 percent all Alison Renee Reed.
Teachers make the decision to ask kids if they're interested, and then they choose from there. Jeff and I aren't super-involved at the school so her teachers have no idea that I have any prior involvement in state service, that Jeff is currently serving or that Grandpa Reed served 10 years in the Maine Legislature.
Dick Lugar is one of those statesmen who even diehard Democrats thought was awesome and didn't mind crossing party lines to vote for him. The series will include a state at the Indiana Statehouse where they'll choose one of three bills to follow and they'll visit with elected officials and others throughout the day.
One of the stops will be the Governor's Office. I don't know if the couch she peed on as a poorly diapered child is still there. Cindy had it cleaned, so I'm sure none of the folks who came after would have known. But we know she marked the space at an early age.
She doesn't remember, as I do, when she correctly identified letters on the state seal in the office carpet to Heather Willey, then the governor's E.A. for education. Ali was two or three, and Heather was delighted to find an early enrollee in FOB's early education program.
Anyway, I'm enormously proud of her. She quickly grew tired of me going through the paperwork I had to sign for her to do it. "You are such a government nerd," she said.
She's hoping they pick a bill she can talk to Speaker Bosma about because it just strikes her as wrong and he should know about it. We'll have a discussion about how to respectfully disagree the morning of the event.
Today we're spending the hopefully last bitterly cold day of the year with a fire in the fireplace. Ali had homework and was sequestered in her room for a while. She'd ventured out earlier and he'd bemoaned her lack of slippers. (She's been sick and it's really cold.)
"If you don't put something on your feet, I'm going to stab you with this knife," he threatened. She remains barefoot. The knife never met her flesh.
I put some music on and she and Jeff both assailed me when the first song came on -- Billy Currington.
It's a 5-disc player. Only one is country. They didn't believe me. Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Fountains of Wayne and a home-made disc with Ben Folds Five and Barenaked Ladies. It was enough to eventually lure her out of her room.
These are my favorite Sundays. All of us in the same room, good music and assorted toys to play with together or apart. I'd like a lot more of them.
Oh! On Friday, Hilary Ricks and a new friend, Heather Barton and I went to the Anderson Cooper-Andy Cohen show. We ran into a few other friends, including Cathy Garver and Alisha Valentine. The show was super fun. Great night out. Ali had a friend over and Jeff took them to see Logan. Good reviews from all involved.
This week, Ali and I are meeting up with Kirsten Jasheway to get a french baking lesson. I finally cashed in Kirsten (and Duane's) Christmas gift of a massage so I'm all relaxed and ready for it. Ali is going to smoke both of us at this lesson. But we'll have wine so it'll be OK.