Aisling said: “What you have is not depression.  What you have is lack-of-Hawaii.”

I suppose this is why it’s taken me forever to finish one book, one book with only 288 pages, although I very much liked it.  I have been busy, not being depressed (although that is an excuse sometimes), but I have been:

worrying about 2/3 of my children visiting Cuba.  They survived the ratty hotel, the wandering cannibal chickens in the dining room and almost getting hit by the Cuban bus on the bike tour.  Ramona now has a ten-year-old Cuban boyfriend who thought her glasses were “very beautiful.”  The Son negotiated, in very, very broken Spanish, a trade for a professional Cuban ballplayer’s glove.  Yep, he still lobbed his helmet in the dugout but that’s a playing-time/personality issue.  He paced the stands when his sister was batting and gave her the “spotlight” gesture when she laced one up the middle.

worrying about sacroiliac injuries.  It’s true, even though the last time I heard that word I think Foghorn Leghorn said it.  Mr. Halfstory seems to have this, evidenced by him keeling over in a painful heap early one Monday morning.  Kind of reminded me of childbirth, only without the bonus of a yummy baby.

the drama of junior varsity baseball and beginning the softball season 0-4.  Nothing more to say here, except: when you are 16 and 14, all of this is a VERY BIG DEAL and you have to remind them playing sports is a privilege and if they don’t QUIT complainin’, well, sacroiliac injuries may occur.

driving the van-of-shame, which has morphed into the anger-wagon, rolling down the hill toward Geometry and Social Issues, steam rising from three sets of iPod headphones, knees folded up their ears (it is a Prius after all), incensed that school is a legal obligation.

When I was nine I crammed my two harassed-looking Barbie dolls into my sister’s make-up case, along with some Cheez-Its, and trotted down the hill seeking adventure, or at least some respite from my house.  We called it Hotel California because there were so many people, relatives and non, living there.  I was sleeping on the couch at the time, although I was destined for my own room pretty soon.  But until that happened I was subject to musical loops of Led Zeppelin, Santana and Tower of Power, and the ruckus of three older brothers and an older sister trying to get away with all sorts of stuff while my mom pretended to sleep.  Point is, I learned to take my brain away even if I couldn’t get physically far enough away.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloangives us the secret of immortality.  It is the 13th sentence from the end of the book, or maybe it’s sooner, or maybe you knew it all along.  You won’t see it coming, or, if you do, you’re a better person than I.  Written in breezy, youthful lingo, it’s a fun romp, with characters that sneak up on you until suddenly, you’re rooting for them.  Clay is young, hip, smart, and aimless, in that understandable but irritating way of anyone under 30.  Basically, though, he’s a nice guy with a heck of a lot of incredible technology at his disposal.  I must admit: I understood the “coding” portions of the book very little.  It didn’t matter.  Robin Sloan is a clever writer with a good grasp on pace.  And somehow, he gives us a hopeful slant on the digitized future.  As someone who doesn’t understand Twitter or Instagram or how my Facebook page changes every 12 seconds without me doing it, I appreciate this.

Here are a few Cuba photos, courtesy of Ramona, who brought back thoughtful gifts for all of us, and even at her outraged age, seemed to appreciate Cuban hospitality. Viva!