Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Difference - A Snippet

I'm about to clear something up.  You may think that I am splitting hairs.  I don't think so.  I have the weight of centuries behind me.  Read on, and be amused.  

Today, Prof. Alfie reminded us of a distinction Dante made in The Inferno.   

Those who know the truth and keep you from it are the liars.

Those who don't care about the truth at all are doomed to spend eternity wallowing in their element - bullshit.

 There was a moment of silence, then stifled, rueful laughter.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Understanding Mr. Kelley

According to my mother, I loved Mr. Kelley above all other things. 

I have no memory of him at all.

Mr. Kelley resurfaced from my early childhood when the crawl space in the basement flooded.  Many treasures were stored there, including, it seemed, my very favorite toy.  Daddooooo and Brother bent over beneath the very low beams, tossing out moldy this and soaking wet that when G'ma cried Mr. Kelley!  Oh, no, Mr. Kelley


You don't remember Mr. Kelley?  You loved Mr. Kelley.

I continued to stare at a sodden clown, his red/white/blue ruffled collar drooping, his elongated limbs dangling, my mother's hand strangling his neck, her expression a mystery to 16 year old me.

Fast forward to the nightgown Little Cuter loved to shreds, the one she wondered why I'd saved all these years.  Consider Big Cuter gently shaking his head, telling me that although I remembered those books, the ones I'd saved in the box, the ones I'd read over and over every night for years and years and years to them, they, sadly, did not.

Those happiest of memories, apparently, exist for mothers alone. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Delay of Gratification

I'm trying to be good.  Really, I am.  But it's hard, denizens, it's very very hard to put off until tomorrow what I really really really want today. 

No, children, I am NOT singing Mick Jagger to myself, because I can get what I want ..... and I have what I need .... but I know I shouldn't.

All this angst is over a library book. 

I'm in the middle of C.J. Box's Joe Pickett mystery series.  I have two of the next three titles in the series available right now, one in hardback, one as an ebook.  Unfortunately, the first of the next three is still on hold at the library.

It's on hold in two versions - book and ebook - on four total copies.  I'm number 1 on the wait list for each version.  One book is in transit.  I choose to believe that it is coming to my library for me and that it will be there tomorrow morning.  Because I believe that, it seems foolish to pay Amazon for an ebook tonight.  I ought to be able to wait, right?

I went to the gym, ran an errand with TBG, read the local paper's sports reporting on Sean Miller (don't ask; I'm too sad to speak of it), made Aidells chicken apple sausage on the barbeque, pruned and deadheaded and fertilized the containers.... I even watched a little golf.

It's not helping.  Once I finish this post I'll convince TBG to take me out for a milkshake.  I'll lobby to watch Thor or Counterpart on tv.  I'll go to bed early and do laundry and groceries and my banking all so that I'm ready as the doors to the library open at 10am.

I may be able to delay gratification, but only for so long.

Friday, February 23, 2018


Among the wonderful things I did with dear friends last week, there was this:
The Tucson Museum of Art was free, the final days of their special exhibit complementing the artisans gathered outside, 
beneath tents, hawking their wares in a Thank-God-It's-Not-Raining-Today mood.

Dress Matters: Clothing as Metaphor was, at times, heavy-handed.
Here's the description
of this dress.
And yes, it says Fare Well atop the bodice.
And those are not pearls, they are tiny lead weights.
How very Virginia Woolf, we opined, and moved on.

Beatrice Colon's Fashion Statement
is cut from the paper traditionally used to wrap tamales.
Every stripe had meaning(s). 

We walked some more and ate some more and talked a lot more, then I went out into the fair, again,
where there were lava stone bracelets just begging to be dosed with essential oils
and earrings
none of them with any metaphorical or political or any other underpinning I could discern, 
nothing other than the joy creating beauty brought to them.  

There's a lot to be said for that, too.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Responding Respectfully - A Snippet

A friend, a fellow shootee, finds solace in God. 

Praying works for him, he tells me.  It's a powerful force, if only we would harness it to expunge the evil from our world.  Evil exists, has always existed, will always exist, his latest missive explained.  Railing against individuals gets us no where, trying to protect ourselves from them is foolish, no matter what we do, they will be there and they will find a way to do their mischief. 

Prayer and belief have something to do with saving ourselves from total despair, it seems, but I had a simpler response, one from my heart, laced with friendship and respect:
Okay, evil exists.  Do we have to arm it?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Things Fall Apart

The kids read that book, by Chinua Achebe, in high school.  Today, sitting at my desk, reflecting on my morning, it popped into my head.  Achebe is talking about society and relationships; I'll be writing about inanimate objects.

First, my phone.  My replacement phone for the one that ate my photos.  The phone that refuses to make phone calls unless I am standing outside and facing the sun while standing on one foot and chanting...... well, nearly that bad, anyway.  That was aggravating enough, but then it refused to let me hear the caller unless the phone was set to speaker.  

Believe me, no one is that interested in my conversation with the HVAC scheduler.  

I called *611 last week and spoke with a lovely young man who answered promptly, didn't read from a script, accepted the fact that I could scroll to Settings without a tutorial, and zipped me through the checklist of possible fixes before agreeing with me that the device had issues.  The last piece of the puzzle required me to reboot the troubled phone.  My helper tried to call me on the land line (I knew there was a reason we still had it) but nomorobo kicked in and his call was diverted.  

This morning, TBG and I were home, with our phones charged, at the same time, with no plans for the immediate future.  I dialed *611 and picked up where I left off, with another equally charming young fellow.  We made sure all my pictures were saved to Google and my contacts were saved to that cloud, too, then we wiped the slate clean, whizzed through all the set up because the phone was going back to the shop, and he called me.

I heard nothing.  I put it on speaker and there he was.  He's sending me a new phone which will arrive tomorrow.  I have high hopes.  I'm prepared for them to be dashed.  

After all, I bought the new battery for The Uv's key fob.  I tried to take out the old battery and the whole thing fell apart.  All the little pieces, the tabs and the arrows and the padding, scattered themselves over the counter like relatives who don't want to see one another.  They were connected, but they didn't want to be.

Since I can't remember which piece goes where, I'm taking the whole kit and kaboodle to the dealership on my way to class this afternoon.  I'll let them earn the big bucks and fit it all back together.  

I'm done dealing with things that fall apart.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Good Day

It started with a dream which ended with me rolling over and belting TBG in the belly.... for reasons which remain in the dream.  It got much better from there.

I did laundry, in the machine and by hand.  I took a chance and hung clothes outside to dry, but the wind was fierce and they didn't last long.  I saved them before they ended up in the pool; I was not interested in washing them twice.

There were intermittent clouds, and they were full of moisture, and the humidity and my hip were interacting in strange and unusual ways.  Sitting at mah jong was a challenge, not only because my first chair had a dent in the seat that put my chin at table height.  I'm short, but not that short, as we all agreed when I switched it out and was able to see above my tiles in the rack.  I won the first game handily and made only one egregious mistake all morning,   That was enough to satisfy my competitive spirit, even if it exacerbated the discussion my newly regenerating nerves were having with the rest of my self.

After a weekend with friends old and dear, sitting on cold benches and walking for hours through the art fair and the museum and back and forth to my car (more on this, with pictures, coming soon), I'd used up whatever good will my body had for me.  Scarlett and I had a leisurely lunch after our game, after which I hobbled back to The Uv with neither grace nor alacrity.

Pilates was cancelled and they forgot to tell me.  I was happy to work out on my own, and even happier when I was offered a complimentary massage to compensate for their mistake.  I stretched myself, slow and steady, and managed an almost even gait as I went in to get dinner from the Chinese restaurant across the street.

I came home and read some more Joe Pickett and snacked on take out and felt the fresh air.  T

And now, the window is open as I'm typing to you.  The rain was pleasant background noise, the smell of creosote strong on the wind now that it's gone.  It feels like early spring on Long Island, in between too cold and I don't need a jacket, the trees bending and the leaves greening up, and hope is in the air.

Hope.  Because the youngest amongst us are energized in a way that they have not been before.  They call bs and demand change and they're going to Washington DC on March 24th to make their voices heard.  There are plans afoot, and I'll keep you posted.  For now, watch the next generation of voters take charge of the issue:

Yes, it was a very good day.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Valentines Day at Amphi Middle School

This is why I didn't find out about Parkland as it was happening.
I was worrying about what I should have been worrying about - would the Valentines Day Create-A-Thon be a success. I set out the stamps and the paper and the markers and the stickers and waited for kids to sit down and play.  
It didn't take long.  
The 6th graders have been waiting for their chance since I started this little love fest five years ago.  The Prince kids watch me set up, 
but they can't participate until they are the big kids.  Delay of Gratification..... there are so many sighs...... because even the teachers can play, and they can't.
Faces were decorated.

and faces were admired.
My volunteers are just as loved as I am.
We gave advice about spelling (Valentine isn't on the I've-been-in-America-for-6-months language list, I guess.)
We listened as a young man explained why he was pleating paper, 
as others tried to decide on the recipients of their largesse.
There was so much love in the air.

in all kinds of languages

Some asked, politely, for assistance, this holiday being a new experience.
Some were delighted to show their work.
And some spoke exactly to the reason I volunteer at this school:

Friday, February 16, 2018

I Need Another Day

It rained all day and even though we needed it everyone in Tucson was miserable.  After all, it rained yesterday, too.  It's a constant presence.  Combined with the clouds and the temperatures in the 50's and 60's, this more-than-a-drizzle-but-less-than-a-downpour mirrors my insides quite accurately.

I'm frozen.  Trying not to wail, to wallow, to go right back to that cold sidewalk, I'm only partially successful.  Like the steady rain on the outside, there's unwelcome background noise on the inside, too.  It's the guilt I feel for not feeling.

Protecting myself = Ignoring their pain .... that's an equation that eats at me. 

I try not to judge myself.  Most of the time, I succeed.  But typing to you forces me to think, and right now thinking is not where I want to be.  So, if you will indulge me, I'll take the night off.  I'll go on creating a Princess Poppy troll hat for FlapJilly. I'll watch the Olympics.  I'll read some of the fourth C. J. Box mystery.

I'll try not to think.

Today I mourn.  Tomorrow, back to work.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Can't

I just can't.

Writing about it is impossible.
Thinking about it is impossible. 
Holding it in my heart redefines impossible.

So, I'm going to watch Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, both  resplendent in pink.
I'm going to wonder with the Science Channel whether Nikola Tesla invented a death machine.
I'm going to watch women skate furiously and ski fearlessly.

I'm going to try not to cry.

We don't have to live like this.
We don't have to die like this.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day

 Hearts are everywhere, and not only today.
There's the heart Yogi Mary found in nature, the one I sometimes use as my Facebook photo.
 There's the heart the Mesa Mavens drew for me at the first Stroll and Roll.
There's the heart that bereft parents look at and cry.
And there's the one I send to you, denizens, filled with everything wonderful and beautiful.
Happy Happy Valentines Day to the people who make my heart sing and my fingers fly over the keyboard, each and every day.  Thanks.... for being here, for commenting, for reading, for caring.

Without your presence, there would be no Burrow.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Out of the Mouths of Babes

She's 7 years old, now, 18 months or more after her best friend, Jacob Hall, the only boy she'd ever kissed, the one she was going to marry someday, was gunned down in front of her, at recess. They had just started first grade.  Ava Rose Olsen is home-schooled now.
She was on CNN this afternoon, teleconferencing from a large leather chair.  Her mom was there, too, describing in agonizing detail how her happy child was now diagnosed with PTSD.  She has her good days, but she is often angry and sad and frightened for her brother, who is still attending that elementary school.

That Elementary School.  The one where she heard and saw what guns can do to someone she loved.  That Elementary School, where, she wonders in pencil to her President:
Are you going to keep kids safe? How can you keep us safe?”
Good questions, ones that the President, who watches a lot of tv (as the interviewer told the little girl), might be watching.  Did the President answer your questions in his response? NO! was her bold reply, staring straight into the camera.  What else would you ask him?  What will you do? came back as quickly as it was answered.

This could be a feel good story about a young gun safety advocate's efforts to right the wrongs wrought by guns. I could stop right here. Preaching to the choir, I picture you all nodding your heads.  No one should ever have to feel that way, especially not a 2nd grader.

But what I took away from this was her reaction when the interviewer asked her mother a question that included the word shooting.  Ava Rose's eyes widened, she put her colorful stuffed animal over her left ear, she tucked the right side of her body as close into that big leather chair as it could be.  She sat that way until something made her startle.  She listened for a moment, then stuck a finger in each ear and stared off into the distance. 

One word did that to her.  Her mom says she puts stickers over words that frighten her when she's reading; watching her on tv it's easy to believe that.... and more.  As the tears dribbled down my face, I was back on the sidewalk, holding CTG's hand, twisted up inside.... and it's been 7 years.... and I'm 6 decades older and wiser than little Ava Rose.

And it hurts, no matter where or who or when.

Keep on fighting the good fight, little one.  You'll make a difference, even if it is only around the margins.  Your true voice will resonate, loudly, clearly, personally.  You'll know what you did to right the wrongs, even if the President can't hear what you're saying.

Monday, February 12, 2018

My Annual President's Day Rant

I first published this in 2011. 
 It remains one of my favorite rants.
I remember when THIS was the most aggravating thing our government did.
Mary Ball Washington gave birth to a boy child on February 22, 1732. Unlike many of the stories surrounding this man (think cherry trees and coins across the Potomac and standing up in an open boat as it crossed the Delaware) this is an indisputable fact.

Mary was not in labor on the third Monday of February.  She produced her child on a specific day - the 22nd day of February.  His birthday didn't move around with the vagaries of the federal holiday calendar.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln met her second son, Abraham, 209 years ago today.  Like Mrs. Washington before her, she was not in labor on an indeterminate day sometime in the middle of the month.  It occurred on a certain day, a day formerly commemorated by school children and mail carriers alike.

Alas and alack, these fine gentlemen have been conflated into Presidents and their birthdays combined into a generic celebration designed primarily to afford employees the opportunity for a 3-day weekend in the middle of the winter. What was wrong with the old system, I wonder?  As an elementary school kid I looked forward to those random days off in the middle of the month.  One day, breaking up the routine.  One celebration for each president - pennies examined on the 12th, leadership and lying (not) on the 22nd.

There was no time for a weekend away (not that G'ma and Daddooooo could have afforded to take us anyplace anyhow) and there was no competition between students for who went the furthest and had the most fun.  It was an opportunity to go sledding at Bethpage (the Black Course was used for many things in my youth; this was the best of them) or to meet friends at the bowling alley and then walk to Smiles (our precursor to a 5-and-dime) where we cruised the aisles until our parents picked us up.

It was grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon on the side, eaten on paper plates and accompanied by the admonition Don't Tell Daddy since the bacon was not exactly kosher and he cared a lot more than did G'ma.  There were snow forts to be built, snowball fights to be fought, snow men to be built. The entire neighborhood roamed from front yard to front yard, creating and tumbling and finding warmth and drinks and the occasional bathroom in whichever house we happened to be in front of when the need arose.

And now?  Now President's Day is always an event.  It's a long weekend for which plans must be made.  It has no intrinsic meaning, no relationship to George or Abe or any of their colleagues.  Their faces are used to advertise white sales and car sales and furniture sales and The History Channel runs back to back episodes of The Presidents but that's about the size of the historical component.  What began as tributes to great men has devolved into spending opportunities for the masses.

Am I bitter?  You bet.  A day off followed by another one 10 days later.... what better way to combat the winter doldrums than that?  A random day, a day to cuddle under the blankets with your sweetie or to do all that laundry that interfered with your weekend plans and so still sits in the basket, mocking you.  A day to explore the neighborhood and have lunch in that place you've driven by 100 times before..... a day just to be.

Sometimes, when I was a girl really was better.

Friday, February 9, 2018

It's So Hard to Be Three


Mamma, I wanna watch Cinderella videos now, I got all ready she says sweetly, proudly, while gently rubbing her mother's elbow.

Mother rouses herself, looks at the clock, and explains the situation.

FlapJilly, you know that the clock has to say 6 or 7 before you can get out of bed .... it's too early for videos...

She is interrupted,

But I got myself all ready!!!! the kid wails, disconsolately, piteously, loudly, in the dark, certain of the righteousness of her request.

And then Little Cuter notices the damp hair, the neater-than-bed head-curls, the headband.... and as they lie down to snuggle each other to sleep, she rolls over onto to the brush and the spray bottle....  and she realizes that, in fact, FlapJilly had gotten herself all ready... all by herself.

And, tired as she was, she smiled.
If this is too much of a grandma-alone-is-interested-in-this post, I apologize.
Sometimes, she's all that I can think about. 

I refuse to write about spousal abusers in the White House.
I refuse to write about a military parade tearing up the pavement on Pennsylvania Avenue.

I want to revel in the antics of my grandchild, hoping that the world becomes worthy of her.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I'm Out of Sorts

A cloud has been following me around, trying to catch up.  I feel it over my shoulder, around a corner, hiding in the rosemary hedge outside my window.  It's somewhat terrifying, somewhat mystifying, and totally sad.

I haven't had a bad day in quite some time.  This feels like one trying to get in. 

I hid, for a while, in the next C J Box mystery.  But, it's set in Wyoming in December and the description of the snow and the ice and the wind had me shivering in the sunshine.  I put the book down and came to the desk, hoping that I could sort it out through my fingers.

I'm not having much luck with that, as you can see.

I'm fed.  I have fun plans for the evening.  I got a great haircut.  I played tether ball with first graders and put stickers on 4th graders and complimented third graders on their respectful demeanor.  All of that should be enough to put a smile on my face.

Oh.  Wait a minute.  I had a body work session after lunch.  Deep belly work, it's been said, releases emotions in a rush.  This, I think, is the first time it's happened to me.  The sad is deep, penetrating, as if I've been punched in the gut.  And, though with finesse and knowledge and care and love, that's kind of what happened. 

Rubbing and smoothing and plying my center seam with healing balms, helping my scar tissue break up and become absorbed back into the ebb and flow, she  put things back in place.  We stretched my psoas and opened my ribs and if it all sounds a little gruesome, rest assured that, except for this emotional download, it's been efficient and beneficial and, strangely, a lot of fun.

I like knowing what's connected to what inside my skin.  This work brings it into sharp relief; I can feel the blood going through my veins.  Slumping at the keyboard is not an option; it feels much better to sit up and out of my hips.  Last time she used trainer's tape to remind me to keep my back long.  This afternoon, I'm figuring it out for myself.

And, sitting up straight is also, somehow, putting a smile on my face.  Or, perhaps, the smile comes from sharing my woes and finding a solution right in front of an audience. 

Thanks for listening, denizens.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are the cheapest and most effective therapy I've ever had.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ground Control to Major Tom

Intrepid Cat said it best:
Some day watching a launch like that will be a regular boring thing.
Today I am ugly crying because they actually did it, and it worked, the math held, and the boosters landing in parallel was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
I'm obsessed with the video of the take-off and the landing of the 2 booster rockets.
The video starts one minute before blast off; if you want more, SpaceX has an hour's worth of static shots right here.  Watch the cameras mounted on the boosters pick up Earth's outline and see if you're not just a little teary.  Just thinking about the calculations that went into the parallel landings right on the FH logo made my head hurt.  The geeky white boys at the end, cheering themselves and their accomplishment, are a 21st century reincarnation of the geeky white boys showcased in Apollo 11
I love the idea that eternity now contains a mannequin circling the sun in a bright red Tesla,
 David Bowie on an endless loop,
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's mantra on the dashboard display. 

Don't Panic.
That's really sound advice.

As our democracy is assaulted from within,
I'm going to believe that Elon Musk was talking to all of us,
not just the fellow behind the wheel up there. 

Don't Panic.  Instead, put your feet up and watch the live video.  Invest some time in it, because the views shift.  Don't miss the shots of Starman behind the wheel, with Earth over his shoulder.  It will make it easier not to panic, knowing that the world is capable of such wonders.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What's Going On?

Is everyone reading the same memo?

Do you feel that you are living in an alternate universe?

Do you wonder why the President of the United States shrugs and giggles while accusing elected members of Congress of treason?

There are some days it doesn't make sense to read the paper or watch the news.  It will only confuse and confound and upset you, no matter what your political preferences. 

I'm going to watch the next episode of Counterpart.  There, at least, the duality is acknowledged.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Super Bowl - Random Thoughts

I had half a dog in this game.  Nick Foles is a UofA graduate. 

Of course, so is Ron Gronkowski. 

On Friday, my 3D mammogram technician, a Philly native, urged me to care about her Eagles. 

A friend promised retribution if any of her Facebook friends were Patriots fans.
One sentence at a time, that's how I watched the game. There was a lot of offense and not a lot of penalties, so I could be fairly certain that there would be something worth watching when I cruised past the tv.  I couldn't sit still all afternoon.

I spent most of the pre-game and into the first quarter pruning my rose bushes which cannot make up their minds regarding dormancy. 

I grilled steaks outside, listening to the coyotes and Justin Timberlake, as they got ready for halftime.

I laughed at the thought of Minneapolis, where there are no degrees to be reported.
When the Rolling Stones performed at the Super Bowl half time, Little Cuter wondered why and oldies band was an appropriate choice. 

Tonight, I reminded myself that NSYNC was her music.  I wonder how Justin Timberlake played for her now.
The commercials were all about tolerance.  I had none - there would be no talking while they were running.

TBG promised that he would take the phone into another room if he had to speak to his son during the game's interruptions, and it took only one plaintive look for him to take the phone off speaker and remove himself from my presence. 

I missed him, but not for long.  "I want to watch these babies," he told Big Cuter as he cut their connection. 

I knew I was right.
And then the back up beat the superstar and large men in sweaty numbered uniforms, many of them holding babies wearing headphones, leaned in to kiss a shiny silver trophy as it made its way to the podium. 

Game over.  No more football for many months to come.

Life is good.

Friday, February 2, 2018

A Short and Heartfelt Rant


Why oh why oh why do you need to drive 10 miles below the speed limit on a two lane, no passing zone forever, road?


Why oh why oh why do you need to creep up to the red light half a mile away, on a busy four lane through street, with a left turn arrow tantalizing me up ahead?  I could reach it if you would keep up with the traffic passing us on the right.


Why oh why oh why do you come to a full and complete stop before making the right turn into the parking lot?  Do you not remember that you were moving, with the traffic, at a fast clip?  Do you not wonder what will happen to the cars behind you? 

And why oh why oh why are you allergic to your turn signal?

If only this were directed to one car, one drive, one incident.  But, no, it's an epidemic of stupid on Tucson's streets.  As the weather gets colder up north, the snowbirds bring their poor driving habits to us.  There's really no excuse.... it's neither icy nor snowy here.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

My Moral Compass Got in the Way

Semi-Spoiler Alert - I don't think it spoils the movie, but if you're worried, wait and read it later.

We were on a roll, Scarlett and I.  First Lady Bird, then The Shape of WaterWe were working our way through the Oscars, one great film at a time.  While waiting for The Phantom Thread to be shown on the big, 70mm screen at The Loft, we took ourselves to see Call Me By Your Name this morning.


There were five of us in the theater.  Scarlett and I chose different seats in the front row of the loge, just because we could.  The previews enticed us to make plans to see the nominated short films when they arrive in February.  We turned off our phones and settled in to be taken in by the languorous meanderings of a James Ivory film.

It was beautiful; the NY Daily News nominated Crema, the city where the film takes place, for an Oscar.  The countryside is verdant and warm and inviting; I wanted to be on a bicycle behind them as they rode to the river or the typist or back home again to a villa I wish I, instead of Elio's mother, had inherited. 

The music was outstanding, at times overshadowing the script. Bach and Liszt and Ravel and others swoop in and out and around as the story became, for me, darker and darker.

Armee Hammer is just drop dead gorgeous.  It was easy to see why everyone fell in love with him.  He started out as an ass, but a gorgeous ass.  I know about his ass because the cinematographer followed it everywhere Armee went.  When the camera wasn't focused on his tush or his pecs, it moved to Timothee Chalamet's crotch.  I knew it was a sensual, sexy, R rated film; I didn't need to be hit over the head with it.

Scarlett posited that most 17 year old boys think about sex and only sex for most of their waking hours.  Since the story is told from Chalamet's point of view, perhaps she has a point here.  Still, it felt heavy handed to me..... and maybe that's because, as the story went on, it began to feel like kiddie porn.

We know at the start that Elio, the son, the boy, the prodigy, is 17.  We know that Oliver is a graduate student; though the reviews call him 24 that's never made explicit.  He's older, further along in life, an adult.  He was a guest in the family's home.  The power differential, the insult to his hosts, the fact that the kid was a kid, even if he did smoke cigarettes in front of his folks, it all made me crazy.

Elio initiates slap fights.  He jumps on Oliver's back like a youngster asking for a piggy back ride.  Oliver enfolds Elio in his arms and all I could see was an adult abusing a child.  All the I didn't mess you up? worries in the world couldn't scrape me off the back of my chair.  Ugh.

Not the homosexuality.  Not his father's speech at the end.  Not anything at all except that, as my mother said to me and I said to Little Cuter,  you are a fascinating human being, but you're 16 years old..... he's a grown up and you are not.