Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And You Would Know.

Last night was luxury.

I got off work at 5, went shopping and bought a couple exciting things, met Melissa for dinner at a restaurant where we got the full gamut of appetizer, entrees, dessert, wine. Afterwards, having no responsibility except to be at work at 9 the next morning, we picked up more wine and headed back to my house, where Kim and Jen joined us in the celebration of the fact that it was a normal Tuesday in Boston, that we were grown-ups with no one telling us to go to bed or not to drink or to clean our rooms. We listened to music, I wailed on my guitar, and then we climbed out onto the roof to enjoy the mild weather and beautiful night. It had been so long since I've had a night like that.

From the roof we could see a man was working in this dim light of his computer through a window, and after a little while of our standing around chatting to each other, he came out onto his porch. He said, "Excuse me, my son is sleeping upstairs, could you please lower your voices?"

I apologized immediately and told him we'd speak more softly. I'm very sensitive to noise myself and I felt pretty bad; the last thing I wanted to do was be inconsiderate -- and who wants to offend one's neighbors? But then, perhaps working up his nerve, he said: "And I've been meaning to ask if you can take that orange... thing inside? It's starting to look like a trailor park over there."

By "orange thing", he meant the folding lawn chair that has been, admittedly, sitting sideways on our roof for months. We've been meaning to let it dry and take it inside, but whenever we think to do it, it's raining. (Also, we call the roof "the veranda", because you actually crawl out onto it from our living room window. But it is, in reality, someone's roof.)

Maybe this guy grew up in a trailor park somewhere, and he was using the comparison an ironic, bemused manner. Maybe he's so bruised by his childhood in a trailor home, and so glad to be free of it, that it pains him to see a lawn chair marring his view.

But as he stood there on the balcony of his multi-story South End home, sympathy was hard to come by. We were all rather dumbfounded, at least enough so that we only came up with appropriate responses once we were back inside.

Like, "And would you mind taking in that thousand-dollar grill and the exotic potted trees for the winter? It's starting to look like a pied-a-terre over there."

Okay, so maybe I'm still working on the witty response.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Of Mice and Me/Words of Thanks

The links to my old entries and archives haven't been working right ever since I changed my template. I figured out that if I republish them entry by entry, the kink irons out, but it may take a while.

The whole way back to Boston from New York tonight, having splurged on Amtrak for this one-night, whirlwind trip rather than my usual Fung-Wah bus jaunt, I read a manuscript of my great-grandmother Lillian's diary, which my great-uncle Mark had typed up, bound, and copied for the whole family and passed out at Thanksgiving dinner this year. Written mostly in 1918 and 1919, while her sweetheart (my great-grandfather from Russia) was on a prolonged business trip in Japan, it describes her life waiting for his return and his proposal. She loved the phrase, "Good night!" as an exclamation, and referred to disappointments as "the fly in the ointment." She sounds just as moody as I am, and I can't wait to read the rest.

I arrived to a dark apartment and the scuttling sounds of a mouse in the the Have-a-Hart trap. A new family of them just moved in, so we reloaded the traps with peanut butter, and sure enough in my absence I caught one of the kids. I took it down to a park across the street and it was gone in a flash. Not five minutes after I'd come back up and reset the trap, snap! We got Momma Mouse. Since I don't, quite figuratively, have-the-hart to break their little necks or poison them and let them die somewhere in my walls, there are lots of trips up and down the crooked staircase to let them go. Some of my friends say they're just going to come right back in, but I've never heard confirmed that mice are smart in that canine way. Anyway, I wish I could convince them not to make themselves quite so at home here. I know Boston rents are ridiculous and the winters are harsh, but... sheesh. I thought I was through with this.

The end is in sight to all this workaholism of the last two months, and it won't be a second too soon. I'm approaching temper-tantrum-tired. No good for anyone.

Here's the view from my aunt and uncle's apartment where we have Thanksgiving dinner every year.

...And here's the view on the inside. Thirty-two of us made it this year.

And I'm going to get in big trouble for posting this picture before printing it out and sending it around to the fam. Be patient, guys... I'll get it to you.

The evening entailed shock upon seeing cousins whose growing-up renders them almost unrecognizable to me from year to year, noisy conversations, remembering the breakdowns of how we're all related, and a little grub.

And now I must crawl in bed and leave the mice to their own brains and devices, 'cause no one's getting a lift to the park across the street until morning. Then it's off to the studio with me. I better brace myself for all the extended families bound to come in tomorrow to have their portraits taken, and arm myself with the patience of a monk.

In closing... wide-screen 20" monitor, the ability to earn and save my own money to afford such expenses, the mobility of getting myself to New York and back without incident, the energy and health to do so, that my immediate family was able to meet me there, that my extended family has been merrily carrying out the tradition for my whole life and longer, my apartment and all its squalor and funkiness, my red clawfoot tub, the five-minute walk between here and Back Bay Station, diaries from people I never got to meet, a mild Fall, so many friends it wears down my phone battery trying to catch up with them all, cell phones, tall leather boots, that public transportation exists, my flannel sheets, a good night's sleep... and finally, my own currently tired, often frivolous, photo-obsessed, pretty normal but sometimes wild and ambling mind. Never a thing to take for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Brief Pie-atus

This is what I'm spending all my time on right now, in addition to the studio on weekends. And yes, I know I'm punny.

Catch ya after the day of thanks!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver, Weave Me a Dream

At least let me build a damn frameset. For the love of God.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Home, As It Were

Just wanted to share some photos from the farm that my sister sent... look at those amazing things she made to eat! A New England fall is just fine, but I miss NC this time of year so much it hurts...

Below is Sensitive New Age Cat, or SNAC. He has a better life since the dumpsters of Oberlin.

Believe it or not, this is how Buddy smiles. I know it sort of looks like he's about to kill you.

Thanks for the pictures, Mandy. I wish I was there to taste your home-cookin'.