Saturday, May 23, 2015

A flowery band to bind us to the earth

I've been fighting this cranky feeling lurking in the background of my general happiness the past few days. Just irritation and this sense that time is speeding by, but instead of feeling melancholy about it I'm annoyed. At people, too. ANYWAY, there have been many celebrations this month and there are more to come, so aside from a cyclical dip in fund$ due to various celebration-related expenses and a bunch of late checks (ahhh, the freelance life), all is swell.

Zoë graduated from Barnard College and Columbia University!! We made several voyages southward, moving both kids out of their dorm rooms, attending graduation ceremonies, feasting on Indian food that I still can't stop dreaming about, meeting the girl's friends and teachers and bittersweetly enjoying the neighborhood and campus and community she's loved so very much for the past four years. We are going to miss the fact of her being there, knowing how close she is and how content.

Isaac had a mixed year--a school year he's got mixed feelings about, that is, although academically I could brag like crazy about what he's accomplished. I'm happy to have him around this summer. For a couple of weeks we've got both sweetpeas, and after Zoë leaves for another summer in India, we'll have Jonah here too. Speaking of Jonah, today's his sixteenth birthday, and we zipped down to Cambridge last night to celebrate with Mom and Dad, Adam and Jeannette and Oona.

So, pointing myself toward the summer, my goal is to savor it. Just that, not to let it slip past because I'm distracted by busyness or whatever. I hope to dig in the dirt, work efficiently when I'm working, finish this kitchen project, stay up late, eat outdoors, play games, walk everywhere, pick berries, clean the windows and then open them wide every day.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Stay in the background and be helpful

Howdy, pals! It's May, and spring is finally, grudgingly, putting in something of an appearance around here. Yesterday was the day we celebrate the birthdays of a certain cat and a certain dog (both three years old, which tragically and strangely means something different in the life of a cat vs the life of a big dog--in other words, Gus is older than Theo in a way. I figure they're both teenagers, though). Theo celebrated last night by finding a mouse in the kitchen. First of all, damn, because after years of mouse issues in our kitchen, we thought we'd eradicated all the little holes in the walls whence they came. Anyway, this mouse ran out from behind the stove, directly into the clutches of our big cat, who was completely clueless about what to do next, though he did have a delighted expression on his face. The mouse escaped easily, and Theo patrolled the kitchen all night long. As far as I know, the mouse hasn't made another appearance since.

I have encountered some things on the Internets that I like. This Reddit AMA by my hero, Mary Norris, is one of them. I'm taking my time with it, and I also have a coveted copy of her book checked out from the 'brary. From the AMA, here's a quote I like:

"A copy editor has got to be content to stay in the background and be helpful and not intrude. The two qualities that make the best copy editors are high intelligence and low ego."

I just like it.

I also like this op ed on Baltimore by Killer Mike.

" the days since, I’ve watched Geraldo Rivera and Blitzer pander to the audiences of oppression on TV. Rivera was approached by a very sensible man who said, 'Why are you here? Not to cover a calm and peaceful protest -- you’re here to sensationalize it.' Rivera turned his back on him, and at first I thought it was arrogance, but I think it was actually shame. This half-Hispanic, half-Jewish man who comes from two different communities, who knows what poverty and oppression can do, could have said, 'I want to know the real story.'"

And this review of Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed by (one of my favorites) Choire Sicha is great for many reasons, including

"It so happens that I have been ganged up on online, and I have also been beaten up by actual gangs of men on the street. The actual beating is — surprise! — exponentially worse."

and especially

"For women — and for all gender ­offenders, from gays to trans people — insult and the threat of murder are issued simultaneously. Like almost every other book, then, 'So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed' would probably have been handled better by a woman. Often we send a married, ­middle-aged man who makes $250,000 a year (half a million in a good year, ­apparently) to do the job. It’s fine! Ronson is a sweet and particularly talented man. But the actual problem with the Internet isn’t us hastily tweeting off about foolish people. The actual problem is that none of the men running those bazillion-dollar Internet companies can think of one single thing to do about all the men who send women death threats."

Yep, basically. Okay, onto the weekend my dears. We are so nearly at the point in our kitchen project that will require us to go to Ikea and purchase cabinets that I can hardly believe it!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Melancholy = Distance/Time

One of the laws of my personal physics of time is this: sometimes 15 years is the same as 15 minutes. For example, when your brother asks you, "When was the last time you spent the whole day with a four year-old boy?"

Friday, April 10, 2015

Road Trip

Mark and Gus and I drove fourteen* hours south of here, and there we found spring! We spent a deluxe long weekend with David, Ellen, Stella, Ben, and their good dog Miles. The day we arrived, it was actually hot, hot enough to wipe Gus The Furry out after short walks, hot enough to make us strip off our jackets and scarves and remember what it feels like to sweat a little bit, hot enough for David to present us with the first iced coffee of the year on their sweet front porch. There is a huge pink cherry tree in their back yard, and as you drive along the highway, there are pink and purple and floaty white blossoms mixed in with the pines.

Our host.

I got to spend a whole day with Ben, taking walks and eating snacks and visiting a coffee shop and a comic book store.

Blue skies, grass, trees, Ben.

Ellen and David treated us to live music, too--Sylvan Esso outdoors under a starry sky on a night that felt like August in Maine, and The Mountain Goats--both hometown bands, and great shows.

We ate amazing food, including food truck crêpes outdoors on Easter, tapas with David and Ellen at Glass Half Full before The Mountain Goats, biscuits with eggplant "bacon" and incredible donuts at Rise, more donuts (also incredible) at Monuts, handmade chocolate at Videri, homemade Indian food at Vimala's, and so much more.

We came home knowing it wouldn't actually feel like spring yet, but still it was surreal to drive northeast watching the landscape get increasingly brown and gray, patches of snow start to show through the trees, to get out of the car at a rest area and remember suddenly what it's like to feel freezing (and this happened in Baltimore, not to mention Massachusetts).

I said it on The Book of Faces, and I'll say it again: this is what April 10th, also known as February 69th, looks like in beautiful Portland, Maine.

Ahh, home. I brought a miserable cold/cough home with me, the cough tubercular-sounding enough that Mark dropped me off at the Urgent Care place as soon as we pulled into town yesterday. They did not cure me of this stupid cough (they prescribed some useless medicine, in fact, I say after a sleepless night of croupy coughing), but I did get to have my very first chest X-ray, which didn't reveal anything fishy. And so I cough.

*my lucky number