For Christmas i got a novel I asked for called Grief by Andrew Holleran. It's about a man who's been caring for his invalid mother in Florida for 12 years, and as the novel begins, she's just died and he's accepted a teaching position at a university in D.C. In the house that he rents, he finds a book of Mary Todd Lincoln's letters to Abraham and he becomes obssessed with her. Apparently 3 of her 4 children died, one in infancy, one as a young child, and the third from some virus he picked he up in Scotland when he and his mother went there on vacation after President Lincoln was shot. Before that, after her husband was killed, she didn't get out of bed for 6 weeks, and various mourners ransacked the White House and stole lots of items as souvenirs. When she was finally essentially kicked out of the White House, she was blamed for all the missing stuff, and accused of stealing it. She never really recovered, and then after her third child died, she basically went completely crazy, and her surviving son had her committed. Seventeen years after her husband was shot, she died, homeless, in her sister's house.
All the main characters in the story are middle-aged gay men, who were all adults in the 80's and lived through the AIDS crisis (well, the genesis of it anyway; it's not like the crisis is over). People say the next generation (which is me) suffers from "AIDS fatigue," since we never really had to live through the years and years of having to bury every friend and lover we ever had, and the constant terror of every sore throat, or cough, or runny nose being an omen of our own long and torturous demise. One of the characters in the novel likens it to being at a dinner party, where random guests are taken outside and shot, while everyone else is expected to just sit there and go on eating.
Today I picked up my nephew from school 3 hours early, and took him to the lake to feed bread to ducks. (Yes, it was just me and a 4-year-old.) It was fun, except the ducks were really geese, and you know what geese are, especially when you're feeding them? Fucking aggressive and scary. So after being swarmed and squawked at, we both got sort of freaked out, and went to play on the playground, which was fun. A young hispanic man was also there with his two tiny children, both about my nephew's age. My nephew's not shy at all, so he went up to play with them and introduced himself to the dad, and the dad introduced himself back. The kids didn't speak English, so I taught my nephew to say, "Hola, mi nombre es Cade." It was awesome, even though he really didn't have any idea what he was saying.