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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i love your mice-freeing tactics. however, jamie fears that they will return because they are so stupid. thus, he suggests that you dye them with pomegranate juice or something by dropping them into a container with the stuff - so that you can re-identify them. i dunno. sometimes i listen to jamie and sometimes i don't.