Our younger son has been slogging along in a very demanding tutoring program this summer. He has done some amazing work and deserves much parental applause... But I know that his accomplishments are due to the unflappable and unflagging support of his tutors.
It takes me five minutes of bartering and bickering to get him to read two lines of a TV program synopsis. But with his tutors, he has been happily reading Beverly Cleary's 1965 book "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" and that is considerably more challenging than cable listings.
It is always impossible to sufficiently thank the people who are endlessly patient with my kids.
When confronted with an unsolvable problem, I often resort to drawing on napkins.
I wanted to add my son into this picture, but did not have the time to pull off a portrait. I was really trying to get at least five hours of sleep last night (The New York Times ran an article recently that said that sustained periods of five hours or less a night result in irrevocable hardening of the arteries....so I am already in big trouble)
I still did not attain the artery saving amount of five hours of sleep...but at least I did not annoy my son by drawing a picture of him.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were never really popular with my sons... but we certainly watched some of the original animated TV show and a couple of the movies. We did miss the most recent movie, and no one seems particularly sorry about that.
But they are perfectly happy to encounter a TMNT reference in the Terraria game. I am unclear on the details, but I think there is a Karate Tortoise costume in Terraria, which looks a whole lot like a basic TMNT getup. But while we were discussing this game feature a couple of days ago, it seemed like we needed a related napkin.
The drawing is relatively realistic, so perhaps it should be an "Elderly Unmutated Karate Tortoise".... I had trouble coming up with a replacement for "Mutant." As a parallel term, there is "Deviant," but I didn't really want to draw a deviant tortoise... and as far as I know, there is no antonym for "mutant."
"Elderly" did seem appropriate, however. The franchise started out back in 1984. The turtles are nearly as old as I am.
No one is taking a packed lunch to school or camp at the moment, and this is a rather hypothetical napkin for a potential lunch in the fall, so it couldn't be too weird.
Too many characters ride in the cargo bike:
(Not one of my better drawings, but definitely the most characters on one napkin ever)
We've been taking a cargo bike to school and camp, more or less every day for five years. During that time, the kids have gained something close to 100 pound combined, and I have aged at least 20 years.
Starting in the fall, the kids will no longer be at the same school. One will be traveling beyond reasonable biking distance to the upper east side of Manhattan. Therefore, as we finish up these last weeks of summer, we are making the daily bike trip to downtown Brooklyn for the last few times.
I have mixed feelings. The daily routine of biking has been mostly a good thing. The excessive exercise has probably kept me from completely falling apart physically and mentally. It has certainly kept me from abandoning my misbehaving sons on a subway train. But it has always been a slightly anxiety-inducing daily grind: The weather is most often too hot or too cold. I am rarely not dangerously sleep-deprived. And many pedestrians and motorists seem to hate me for the outrageous decision to bike my kids to school and are happy to shout their opinions at me from their car windows or often, their position standing in front of us in the bike lane.
I am very pleased and overwhelmingly thankful that, besides the frequent verbal hostility, we have made it through thousands of miles without an accident or an interaction that left physical marks.
It is probably time to stop anyway, given the kids' increasing size and heft. If you are one of our few readers who is not my mom, you are probably wondering why my sons are not riding their own bikes to school by now... Well, while I had often fantasized about that happening eventually, the trip is 5 miles, mostly around the very windy Brooklyn Navy Yard, and culminates in a rather nasty stretch of riding in traffic in downtown Brooklyn. And my kids have never been very interested in self locomotion.
At any rate, since we were approaching the end of the cargo bike phase, it seemed like there should be some sort of commemorative napkin. The kids came up with an endless list of characters that have appeared on the napkins over the last five years that they thought should be riding in the bike. They argued over who should get to sit on which character's shoulders. And they berated me this morning for failing to somehow work in Doctor Who's Tardis.
I had to draw the line somewhere.
(You can see a photo of us on the bike on a rainy day in 2012 on this bicycling photography blog: gudphoto.com)
No, it is not a napkin. But it is napkin related I suppose.
Mostly it is a picture of clutter, and an illustration that my husband has thoughtfully left a very large mirror (with a cut out for a switch plate perhaps) in my studio.