Monday, July 31, 2006

My Summer Recreation/Good with my Hands

Well, hello.

At work today, we all got little notices in our mailboxes on burnt-orange paper, with about 25 little check-marked pointers on how not to die in the approaching heat wave that's said to smother Boston tomorrow and Wednesday. Good lord... and praise jesus for my ever generous neighbors and their three-week vacation to Maine.

I don't handle extreme heat so well. I can hear people scoffing at that because -- well, I bitch all winter, too. It's true - there seems to be a pretty narrow range on the thermometer in which I'm comfortable and, frankly, pleasant. Last weekend I visited Matt's hood in Cambridge after far, far too long, and also decided, for some reason, to wear some of the least comfortable shoes I own. We oozed like mercury from Porter Square to Harvard Square, back to Porter, up to Davis, and to the porch party in honor of the birthday of Joe Keohane, minor celebrity and Editor in Chief of the Weekly Dig. I sat on the porch with a mint julep and tried to aim myself strategically so that the breeze would go up my skirt. My feet felt like sausages wrapped in twine, and it took us a year to get back to my neighborhood where the neighbors' central air awaited us, and I'd turned into a veritable troll by the time we got there. Matt swears otherwise, but he's just being nice.

In spite of waves of such heat, humidity, thunderstorms, and lack of spare time, I finally got the walls of my room painted, and they look good enough to eat. Sadly my card reader died recently, but once I replace it I'll post some Good Housekeeping-Esque pictures. In fact, I've been quite handy as of late; after work today I schlepped three steel rods on the bus from Home Depot, and created myself a solid clothing rack, base boards and all, to accomodate my lack of closet.

My friend Brooks is moving to North Carolina to attend grad school at Duke, and in down-sizing sold me a lighting kit with three nifty hot lights and stands. I'm eager to put it to use. He also gave me a few photographic knick-knacks, including a Poloroid camera with some impressively old film inside. He and Rachel and I decided to use it up. I love how dated these photos look; Rachel and I could be our own mothers (if I looked anything like my mother) and Brooks definitely looks like somebody's dad.

And... well, that's about it. Life is good. If you want me to take pictures of you, call me. If you want to come over and sit on my bed and look at how pretty my walls are with me... we could do that, too.

Oh oh! and my favorite new word: recreate, as a verb.

v. rec·re·ate·, rec·re·at·ed, rec·re·at·ing, rec·re·ates
v. tr.
To impart fresh life to; refresh mentally or physically.
Oh yes. Not only can you be recreated by someone else, but you can recreate yourself. "And what do you do for recreation?" Oh, so much fun to be had with that one, if you have enough time on your hands. Ha.

Drink lots of water, even if you don't feel the need to.
Avoid alcohol and caffiene.
Get plenty of rest.
Call in to work and tell them you have heat exhaustion.
Lay low and recreate people you love.
Don't move, basically at all.

Good luck, lovelies.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Woe is Moses

I'd be a wee bit downtrodden too if I were the one with diabetes and only three legs. Extremities and limbs are never really supposed to come in odd numbers. Except 1, sometimes.

In spite of vicious allergies, I've become rather fond of the feline, my regular cat-sittee (meaning I cat-sit him, not sit on him). I also get to stay in his house when his human family is away.

If anyone is in need of some woe these days, I'm carrying extra. Not even a brief defiance of gravity and sanity, in the form of flying across a lake on waterskis before tumbling, stone-skip style, across the surface and emerging cluelessly bereft of bathing suit, could knock the woe out of me. Dealing with my immediate and eventual future could be the source of it. More accurately, dealing with the desire to deal with said future in spite of a strong conflicting desire to crawl under my bed and wait out the suspence of my no-so-early twenties, of not having any money, of being scared to try and fail, of getting older, of becoming who I am in spite of myself.

Forgive my vagueness of late... it'll all come out in the wash, and once it does it'll all go up on the blog, I reckon.

Meanwhile, it's my last night in a house with AC for a while, and I have an exciting date with Benedryl.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Old Grey Mare, She Ain't What She Used to Be

She ain't grey, quite, but she sure is old; pushing mid to late thirties, blind in one eye, deaf in both ears. Dixie takes a good hour to finish chewing her watered-down grain, and every time I come home I fear bad news of our little pony who pulled neighborhood kids in the pony wagon from house to house on Halloween, her mane and tail dyed bright pink. Amanda and I both learned to walk, trot, and canter on her. When we would win at a local horse show, the deep-drawled announcer would proclaim, "First place goes to Amanda, riding Dixie The Fat Pony!" That was her show name.

There was bad news about Blossom this time; one of our oldest Sicillian donkeys finally died, and I didn't even notice until my sister came home and asked where she was, over dinner. I wonder if my parents still felt bad giving us that news.

But Dixie's still as spry as ever. This afternoon she got loose and sprinted a little down the driveway before returning obediently to her pen, where she knows she'll be fed and brushed. My mom plays NPR around the clock in the barn, so our horses are very worldly.

Anyway, I should back up.

"Soggy" is the adjective that seems appropos in describing the summer so far, although apart from the constant dampness and frequent deluges in Boston, it's unfolding to be a pretty nice one. Things have been good. Well, apart from a brief trip to the ER a few weeks ago, due to a kidney infection and a spiked fever...

...which has cleared up now, thank god. The next weekend found me in New York, galavanting and puddle-dodging on the rooftops of Greenwich Village, where my aunt Karen lives...

...and being complete photo whores with Meg after The Threepenny Opera, for which she scored front-row tickets at the very last performance of the run. You may recognize these faces:

Ana Gasteyer from SNL...

The alluring Alan Cumming from, well, everything, in addition to his own recent cologne ads...

Nellie McKay, who's a NYC pop singer I've only recently been introduced to thanks to Paste Magazine. She made a great Polly Peachum in the show...

And though you may not know Wallace Shawn, who did the translation, by name, you'll certainly recognize his face from "The Princess Bride". Turns out he's a brilliant academic, and a very nice man. It's hard not to envision him saying, "incon-theivable!"

Upon returning to Boston, Meg came up via Fung Wah and visited for a few days. I took a day off from work to enjoy the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum finally, as well as the regulation North End jaunt, where we stopped in to see my photos, and the Garment District, for thrift shopping. We had a lovely dinner with Melissa, Matt, Meg, myself, and Milton, a guy she befriended on the bus who had just moved to Boston on a whim from Puerto Rico, and who was a great addition to our little party. Matt almost couldn't find us because I witheld telling him I'd cut and dyed my hair that day...

...or had I just gotten excited in the wig section of the Garment District?

And then the trip to NC, the long-awaited trip home. This is where life feels really saturated, and where I fully let go and breathe. Here's what it looks like.

Other highlights included cooking out with the family...

A trip to the annual Eno River Music Festival, a good ol' hippie Durham event...

Teaching Matt to back-dive off the dock (he was fearless)...

And of course, the requisite morning trip to Waffle House where, typically, the waitresses need translators for out-of-town visitors. "Haw-y'ant-chaygs?" for example means, "How do you want your eggs?"

So now that Matt's gone back to Boston, I've taken a long, drunken nap, the kind where you can't wake yourself up from your dreams even though you know you're sleeping. I've stared out the windows from the air conditioning and thought a lot. I watched some old videos of me as a kid, from a year and a half singing songs and carrying around baby dolls, to painfully 12, reading my winning essay at the D.A.R.E. graduation in a quiet, Southern accent that sounds like a stranger's. It's crazy to think that I'm the same person.
I've been loafing around in my room, poring over my stuff, lying on my bed and reading things I've read a million times. I've pulled out a couple old journals, but there are still several I can't bring myself to read, not because I haven't moved on, entirely, but when I come back here I find that person again and still relate to her. Slights may have been small, in retrospect, but they were still slights. Betrayal was still betrayal. Besides, some of the ghosts in those pages, and all over the place here, are still very real.

In the movie "Lost In Translation", which I didn't especially like, Scarlett Johannson talks about how all girls want to be photographers for a while, and how they lie around and take pictures of their feet. I'm sort of still doing this. Being at home is a good time to examine, if somewhat idly, what you're doing with your time, and how purposeful coming to do it was. Is forgiveness in order? Or a stern examination and subsequent affirmation to get on it, stop whining and do, become that person your younger self wanted you to be? I get paralyzed by the fear that the latter is true. Either the confidence is missing, or the energy is. Much safer to lie around and take pictures of yourself looking as pensive and moody as you feel, and let the world outside keep revolving faster and faster until it feels like falling headlong into yourself.