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Easter Passes Me Over

I have been off of work for the last week, as Baba’s day care has been closed for the Passover and Easter holidays.  Not being a Christian nor a Jew means that this mostly turns into another one of of those holidays where everyone seems to need to be somewhere, but I’m not entirely certain where that is.

Apparently people get together for Easter?  And they eat food?  Also, sort of the same thing for Passover?

I’m not so culturally tone-deaf as to not understand that there are some significantly different religious underpinnings there, but my understanding is pretty vague.  Jesus rose from the dead; a miracle is celebrated.  The Jews were spared from the plagues that God visited on the Egyptians and were liberated from slavery — another miracle.  These are fabulous and powerful stories, even if you don’t share the faith behind them.

And I must admit that I rather like the idea of miracles these days.

These shoes were made for walkin’…on mulch.

Our celebrations were more pagan.  Baba was sent a chocolate rabbit and some bunny ears, which led to a full day of listening to Baba declaring her newfound love of chocolate. I spent the afternoon digging in the dirt in the garden and trying out my new garden shoes. (Sloggers!  Recommend!)  The house that we bought was uninhabited for four years before we moved in and the yard is showing the neglect.  I don’t know a great deal about gardening, as you could spit across the entire yard of our last house without really even trying, but I’ve taken on fixing this yard as a personal vendetta project.  I’ve been learning a lot about eradicating crabgrass and annihilating dandelions, which is very much the dark side of gardening.

Still, there are worse ways to celebrate a fertility festival than by making room for new things to grow.  Tonight, I sleep the sleep of the just, even if we still haven’t figured out how to make our mysteriously 9-zone sprinkler system work.

It has been really relaxing to be away from my normal routine for so long.  My grandparents were visiting for the week, which made my time with Baba very pleasant.  She has very much become a 2 year old, with the attendant fits and dramas that limited language and a whole lot of will power entail, and the extra adult hands around were greatly appreciated.  Our entertainments were pretty mellow, with many trips to the park and the grocery store and the back yard.  The weather finally turned for the season and, for the first time since we bought the house,  I’ve actually been spending time just sitting in the back yard, enjoying our tiny private patch of outdoor space.  I bought Baba some chalk and we’ve been working on decorating all of the bricks in the patio, which is just the sort of life goal that I’ve needed for some time.

Perhaps the lessons of Easter and Passover aren’t for my family, but all of the time together with Baba and my grandparents has felt very sacred, all the same.

 

Nap refusal is never pretty.
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The Dark Days of Winter

december-solstice-winterThese are dark days.

I mean that literally and figuratively; the winter solstice is, after all, upon us.  I am headed towards Manhattan in a grey and bleak morning that has barely lifted into day.  It’s raining, just enough to make me seem strange without an umbrella, but not enough to inspire me to take it out.  I am alone in this, one bare head in an army of black umbrellas.

Like most of the world, I’ve also been reeling from the U.S. Presidential election for the last month.  I’m sure it’s not hard for regular readers to guess which way I voted, so I’ll spare everyone all of that.  Watching the post-mortem has been painful, as the pundits looking for ratings try to blame someone or explain away a result that very few people predicted.  I, for one, am tired of trying to dissect American psychology, like we are all one big mass.  I’m even tired of reading explanations about the white working class or white middle-aged women or Latinos for Trump!, because it all simplifies the picture and does not lead to much listening.  It doesn’t even ring true.  I have a white working class husband who would never vote for the anti-union candidate.  I am a white woman who has been walking through the world with a new level of fear and anxiety.  For the first week, my stomach literally ached.  As the high level administration appointments have been coming in, starting with a literal neo-Nazi, I’ve had a hard time thinking about much else.  This is not who we are, except that it is apparently exactly who we are.  It is not who I want us to be.  Maybe I am just naive, but I’d thought we could all at least agree on the Nazis.

This anxiety is not sustainable.

I want to reach across the aisle and listen – and to reach across the aisle and be heard – but how do you do that with so many people shouting?  How do you do that when our elected officials are looking at the Japanese internment camps of World War II as a legal precedent?  How do you shut your eyes and ears when a man who ran a “news” site that runs articles like “How to Make Women Happy: Uninvent the Washing Machine and the Pill” is now one of the chief advisors of one of the most influential and powerful people in the world?  Just yesterday I read an article about a man with a gun showing up on a street that I know well because he chose to believe the vilest of Internet rumors.  A childhood friend’s family church was vandalized with white supremacist graffiti within days of the election. Another friend’s cousin, living on the other side of the country, had a swastika painted on her garage.  Closer to home, the NYPD is dealing with such a large spike in hate crimes that they are creating a special division just to deal with them.

I am afraid to shut my eyes.  I’m afraid that if I don’t shut my eyes, I will never live a normal life again.  How do you strike the balance?

I haven’t a clue.  I put big pink safety pins on all my jackets and purses.  In those first few days after the election, I was terrified to wear them, but I swallowed the fear and thought about how much braver it is to wear a hijab right now.  It is a little enough thing to put a pin on my clothes – a pin that can easily be removed to let me blend into the crowd where my pale skin and blue eyes will protect me. The KKK has been dropping flyers on my train.  Yesterday, another woman on the subway was attacked for wearing a hijab. When I tell myself that adding a safety pin to my clothing is the least that I can do, it really is the absolute least that I can do.  I have decided to be accountable to my pin, that I will not blend into the background when I see that someone is afraid, but I also despair that I won’t live up to it.

So here we are in the literal darkest days of the year, trying to find a way to creep back towards the light of summer.  On Sunday, we put up a Christmas tree in our new home, right in the giant bay window that I have fallen in love with.  When I turn the corner at night, I see it shining its manufactured light out into a world of darkness.  In a normal year, it would give me hope.  This year, I am trying hard to open myself up to be able to see its light.

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The Romance Begins

Since the day that Baba started day care, I’ve taken to driving to the train station.  It is less than a mile from our house, but since I’m driving her anyway, it seems silly to go back home just to park the car.  It is just as silly to drive to the station, but it means getting home 10 minutes earlier – and those 10 minutes are precious, because they are my only chance to play with Baba for a few minutes before she goes to bed.

They aren’t always the best part of my day, but I spend my afternoons looking forward to them.  When the train is late and she’s melting for bed by the time I get home, I’m always hugely disappointed.

My street is near the center of town, which means that parking is often at a premium at six in the evening.  And on the bad parking days, I get frustrated, because those extra minutes matter.  But now that we’ve had an offer accepted on a house in a less congested part of town, that frustration has turned into daily rants, even though I once enjoyed living on such a community-minded street.  It has been this way with all the little things in our house, which I loved in the way that you can only love the first place you live that’s really your own.  Now, it’s maddening that the upstairs toilet takes an extra half-second to flush, because I didn’t make the chain short enough the last time I replaced it.  There’s a scuff near our skylight that I used to be able to ignore, but now can’t wait to never see again.  Walking down two flights of stairs to do my laundry is just impossibly aggravating, because this maybe-ours house has no basement.

Soon this won’t be a problem, I tell myself every time I encounter some new aggravation that never bothered me before.  Soon this will be all behind us when we are at our new house.

We’ve been trying to be careful not to call this new house ours.  Our offer was accepted so quickly that we’ve been wondering when we’ll find out some dark secret that will make the deal fall apart.  It’s a lovely house, with a grand demeanor and oversized rooms with a delightful snob appeal.  The front porch is welcoming and warm; it just begs for a swing and pitchers of iced tea on summer afternoons.  The interior is finished enough that you’d only have to do projects that you wanted, which is a fine change from our current century-old plasterwork house.  It’s on a quiet street just three blocks from the train station.  The lot is oversized…and yet we can afford it.

Something seems badly wrong here.  Is this still New York?

So we started stalking the house.  We sneak up on it, checking to see what it’s doing at different times of the day.  Does it disappear during the night?  Are there ghostly lights?  Was it perhaps part of the growing heroin problem in our county? It feels like it must be something, so we’re trying to dig up all the information we can.  Stalking the house helps, because it gave us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the one neighbor that we’ve seen anywhere near the house (and thank goodness for dogs and their walks).  He tells us that no one has lived there since before Hurricane Sandy.

Oh, I see, we said, while congratulating ourselves on our cleverness in having already ordered our mold test.  We knew the house had flooded, like most of our town.  But no one living in it to pick up the mess?  That’s a terrifying thought.  Most of the homes in that situation now sport special red signs on them, with big warnings that it’s not safe to go inside.  Almost four years later, the neighborhood wears them like pimples.

We were supposed to have our structural inspection done this week, but the owner cancelled on us last minute, which gave us all sorts of fuel for speculation.  Yesterday my Beloved drove by the house and caught the owner cheating on us showing the house to someone else, which makes it pretty clear what the delay was about.

Still, a showing is not an offer.  Any new offer may not be better than ours; we went in high, because we understood that we wouldn’t be the only ones to notice that this house seems like a steal.  So it may end up being our house yet, without contest.  But I admit that it feels very much like the beginning of a romance, when the stakes are just getting high.  We feel very vulnerable as we wait, wait, wait and hope and dream that this might be The One.

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A Home Away From Home

home sweet homeSelling your house is a strange business.  We’ve had our house on the market for the better part of a month now.  Another way of phrasing that is that we’ve had our home on the Internet, where strangers get to casually thumb through pictures and judge our furnishings taste.  Nearly every day, people that I don’t know have walked into my bedroom, taking a look at some of the most personal details of my life.  For the first two weeks, before we saw any offers, I have to admit that this idea of judgement was laying heavily on me.  I am not generally a very self-conscious person, but day after day of knowing that my house was not good enough for the many people that walked through it left me feeling strangely vulnerable.

That’s emotion for you.  We’ve been going to open houses, so I know well how the psychology of a buyer goes.  We have yet to see  a house that has really excited us, for some pretty arbitrary reasons, so it’s hardly surprising that other people would feel the same about ours, is it?

We are in a buyer’s market, as well, so I know that my strange little house, with its unique architecture and zoning, isn’t going to be for everyone.  We’re in a semi-detatched, which means that we’re one side of a duplex.  It’s like a townhouse, but not when it comes to appraisals.  And that’s going to make the next week or so really interesting.

We’ve had a decent offer.  It should give us just enough money from the sale to find a house with most of the things that we’re looking for.  There are no guarantees, of course.  An offer is not a sale.  Our realtor is currently negotiating with the buyer to see if we can’t inch up the purchase price.  They could walk away.  Since there are no comparable sales, the appraisal could come back with a weird enough number that the buyer’s mortgage falls through.  Still, we’ve gotten hopeful enough that we’ve started the motions towards a new mortgage.  I’ve been looking at houses for sale for so long that I actually got bored of it, but now I’m trying to convince myself to start doing my research again.

Long Island is insanely expensive, so we’ll undoubtedly have to make  compromises.  We’re not afraid of renovations, but I have to admit that there’s a part of me that is mourning the idea of leaving my renovated and finished house and starting all over with another fixer-upper.  Our home, at this point, is perfectly customized for us.  Who wants to start that over?

I keep coming back to this image that I had as a girl of what my life would look like when I had it all figured out.  It’s just flashes — a house with a waterfront view, where waves break against a rocky cliff.  My legs, in grey leggings, underneath an oversized blue sweater.  A desk facing the window, where I would spend my days quietly writing.

In none of those images were there other people or houses.  I longed for space in the way that only a lifetime apartment dweller can.  To have a home where you don’t hear the arguments of your neighbors, imposing on your solitude?

What bliss.

Now the real estate market is down, which will help us in buying, but certainly isn’t going to net us the hundreds of thousands in profit that people enjoyed during the real estate bubble.  And, even though it is a buyer’s market, I see house after house where it’s clear that the sellers still are thinking in terms of housing bubble prices.  We’re trying to be more realistic in the hopes of selling reasonably quickly, which does seem to be working.  Still, it’s depressing to look at the top of our rather generous price range and see 70s fabulous houses on tiny lots, with neighboring houses clustered all around.  That mirrored wall in the bathroom is retro, right?  Who doesn’t want to watch themselves…well…

Obviously I will not get that wood-floored ocean-facing desk of my dreams.  I certainly won’t get that isolated house on a cliff, where I can ignore the world around me, while watching the most peaceful part of nature.  And why should I?  Wouldn’t it be selfish to hog such a view?  But I can’t help but dream of a room of my own, a space where my desk will look at something more beautiful than a basement wall.  We have to be in the New York area for now, because our careers need it.  But it won’t always be this way.  There will be a time when I can step away and find a little town where I can have my house on a hill, where I can replace my crowded train commute with a walk to the garden.

In the meantime, we’ve just booked a quick trip to Ireland to celebrate a family wedding.  Although I really wanted to go, I initially found the idea overwhelming, because there were things to plan and sort and figure out.  Then I found an apartment in Malahide, which is a quiet suburb of Dublin that’s right on the coast.  We’ve rented it, because it is near friends that we have not spent enough time near in years.  Today I found that I could think of anything but getting to it and listening to the quiet inside it.  Our house will come and go as it will, but one thing that I can count on is that I’ll be walking along the shore in Ireland in just three weeks time.  I can’t wait.

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Mercury

1-1237928534hqIcThe weather has been the very definition of mercurial here in sunny New York.  On Sunday, someone made off with all of our Fahrenheits, and we had to pull out every item of our much neglected winter wardrobes to run our errands, shivering in the stiff wind that registered somewhere around -17.  By Monday, the temperature had risen thirty degrees, which made admiring the new snow that started to fall on Baba’s face much easier.  She blinked as it fell on her cheeks, eyes wide open and staring as her second Presidents’ Day turned into something magical.

On Tuesday, the transit system failed me, but the weather had risen another twenty degrees, making me wonder why I bothered with a jacket at all.  If you’re going to spend an hour outside, wondering about how your life would change if another train never arrived, you could do worse than to be doing it in a delightfully warm rain.

When the trains are screwy, I remind myself that if a late train is the worst thing that happens to me all day, then I have had a pretty good day.  It makes me feel better (and not even entirely because it makes me feel superior to my fellow commuters, who are often not displaying their best behavior).  But it is true — if being late to work is the worst thing that happens to me in a day — in brilliantly spring-like weather — I’ve had a pretty darned good day.  And the train did, eventually, arrive.


Beyond the weather, it is a season of change for us.  Perhaps it is having Baba to measure things by, but it has become much easier to track the passage of time.  We are planning on moving this year, which means finishing up all of those projects around the house that we’ve been meaning to get to for ages.

Perhaps the biggest change is that after a stay of seven years, my kid brother has moved out of our house.  It’s changed our family dynamic, but also given us a new project in changing his former bedroom into something fresh, something new.  There are certain perils to objects like drywall and carpets when you have a teenager living in your home and over the course of seven years, his bedroom took some significant damage.  So we have had to take stock about what to mend and what to replace.  In the end, we are fixing the walls and replacing everything else.  We threw out a bed, but kept a bookshelf. We have been patching, sanding, priming and painting, which is a very different type of work than what I usually spend my time doing.

In true Dickensian style, I hate painting.  I love painting.  It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.  Painting is awful.  Painting ceilings, as I had to do in my brother’s former room, is absolutely awful.  And yet, there is something so deeply satisfying in looking at a freshly painted wall and knowing that my hands made it nice again.  I go to bed exhausted and satisfied, knowing that my efforts of the day are permanent.  For a while, at least.

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Summer Gardening

_DSC3019Today I found myself laying in the grass underneath my four-year-old Asian pear tree, watching puffy white clouds float by in a light blue sky.  I told myself that I was resting, taking a break from the heat and the weeding that I’d been occupying myself with for a few hours, but the truth was that I was reminiscing.

I haven’t spent much time in the garden this year, between all our house guests and trips out of town and keeping things going while my Beloved was in Ireland.  Life does that – it intervenes and takes control, no matter how good your intentions.  My postage stamp sized garden is largely self-sufficient — without my lifting a finger, we had decent crops of strawberries and blueberries and the beginnings of what I hope will be our biggest Asian pear crop yet.  Yet the neglect is obvious in the straw color of the grass and the forests of weeds that grew out between the bits of last year’s mulch that survived the winter. In the five hours that we spent working on it today, we pulled out four full-sized construction garbage bags of weed and dead grass. I need not have fretted over missing yoga this morning — my back, shoulders and legs got plenty of exercise in wrestling the garden back into shape.  Garden Kneeling Pose.

We put down six bags of cedar mulch, both to keep down the future weed life, but also because cedar mulch is colorful and pretty.  As I knelt along the edges of the lawn,  spreading out the mulch with my hands, carefully piling it around the roots of every plant, I felt about as connected to my garden as possibly could be.  I am marked and scarred from mulching the rose bushes, but they’re scars I’ll carry proudly over the next week, when I’m stuck in a climate-controlled skyscraper, as far from nature as I possibly could be.

When I was small, I used to spend hours and hours lying in the grass and watching the clouds.  Time is different when you’re a child — time is something that you kill while the adults are running around doing adult things. Today we just sat for twenty minutes, watching the water shoot out from the main sprinkler, waiting for the second sprinkler head to kick in on its timer. Just sitting, while I was covered in dirt, sweat and grass from a hard day’s play, was one of the happiest moments that I’ve had all summer.  As the water pooled on the driveway, I tried to clean my muddy flip-flops and feet in it, but only created thick mud streams down my legs. It was so carefree, so lovely, so freeing.

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Kitchen Remodeling

I’ve been thinking a lot about space lately, which is a pretty natural offshoot of my house having been taken over for the kitchen remodeling project. Since Hurricane Sandy, my house has been in an almost constant uproar. It began the night of the hurricane, when we saw the water coming near us and quickly moved everything from our basement to our ground floor. Then we had no electricity, but were safe from water damage, so we moved everything back. In the dark, which went about as well as you might expect. Then the house went topsy-turvy as things were moved about as we tried to navigate a dark and cold world for two weeks until the power was restored.  (On the upside, without telly, my beloved will get bored enough to clean the fridge – and I will get bored enough to mop all the floors.  True fact.)

Not long after power was restored, my beloved began remodeling our kitchen. There was a special reason to do it in December, relating to his work schedule, but I was very wary of the effect not having a kitchen would have on Christmas. It turns out that I was right, but we got by. It’s amazing what you can cook on a barbeque. The immediate result of the kitchen remodeling, other than the way it took over my life in terms of my spare time, was that the kitchen now became scattered all over the house. The cat food is in the guest bedroom, the teas are in the basement, the nice glasses are underneath my fiber arts table. The dishes are sitting in my entrance hall, while the new cooking station, with our microwave and toaster oven, are sitting in the dining room. My stove and dishwasher spent a solid month in the back yard.  We’ve done a fairly good job of keeping things organized, but the kitchen stores a lot of items.  There’s only so much you can do.

The physical chaos has bothered me a lot.  I’m not the neatest person the planet, but I do like things to be put away when they’re not in use. Clutter disturbs and upsets me. A little untidiness isn’t so bad, but when the task becomes “clear the place where you make art” rather than “make art”, things begin to fall apart.  The first week of kitchen chaos was pretty terrible for me, but then I decided to dig in and do whatever I could to get my kitchen back.  I had dreams of it being back in place by New Years, which didn’t happen, but it’s starting to happen now.  I spent last weekend painting the walls, after which we started moving the appliances back in.  We only have a few things left to do – putting in a window that was removed by the previous owners and installing the cabinets, then ordering the new counter top.  They’re all now in a period of waiting for things to arrive, so at last, we have time to do something other than work on the kitchen.  The cabinets will arrive on Tuesday, the window this Friday.  So we’re nearly there.

The kitchen is looking beautiful.  We’ve replaced the brown theme with creams and silver, torn down a wall and added a window.  Instead of being a little dark cave, we’ve made it into a spacious and light space that’s going to be a beautiful new heart of the home.  Once everything is back, the next spot that’s going to get the treatment is my fiber arts space, which is currently utterly chaotic.  Before we began the kitchen, I asked my beloved if he would build me a custom cabinet that I designed in order to fit all my various spinning, knitting, weaving, sewing, drawing, photography, etc. tools.  Now that I’ve spent a month doing demolition, learning how to use a cordless drill, sawing at tiled floors, painting and project managing, I’ve asked him to teach me how to make it my own damn self.  Because we all know that what I needed was to add in carpentry to my list of hobbies.

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And…breathe…2013

December has passed by in a whirl of days, filled with so much activity that I’ve barely been able to breathe. We’ve been in the middle of a little bit of an impulse kitchen remodel and it has gotten fairly out of hand (which is to say, we’ve ended up ripping out and replacing everything). It is starting to move towards completion, minus the cabinets and counter tops that may not arrive for another six weeks, but it certainly made hosting Christmas dinner interesting. This year, I find myself grateful for propane and a barbeque. The rest of Christmas ended up being much of a non-event, as I’ve been busy ripping out sheet rock, helping tile floors, project managing and researching and ordering windows, dish washers and microwaves, caulking and painting rather than getting into the Yuletide spirit. I find I’m in it now, after the holiday has safely passed. Here’s to next year.

Pictures of the remodel soon, as soon as the after pictures are something to look at.

I have also been reading Steven King’s The Stand, which is compulsive and over a thousand pages, which has rather killed my productivity. I’ve never read King before, always being shy of horror novels, so I’ve rather had my mind blown so far. He’s a master writer, who draws a character sketch possibly better than anyone else I’ve ever read. I am certain there will be more in the near future. I’m told the Dark Tower series is also compelling. I am a little horrified that I let over thirty years go by before picking up his work – it’s a good lesson on how it’s a good idea to not limit yourself from a reading perspective because of genre.

My New Years Resolution for 2013? Read, read, read, write, write, write. As with last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. I have actually been successful each year at fitting more writing in, but I’m still struggling with certain elements of technique. I want to fit in some more writing instruction this year than I have in the last few, not having taken a class since I graduated. It’s going to happen…just as soon as I have a stove to cook on.

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I would wear more sunblock

Last weekend was one of the busiest weekends of my life, in which I was barely able to accomplish half of what I wanted to do.  (Clearly I ought to learn how to set realistic expectations.) My house had gotten to a point of distress, so I spent the Saturday not just cleaning, but also taking the time to buy storage for the sheets and organizing them, as well as getting rid of things and switching out winter clothes for summer clothes and dealing with the mounds of laundry that have piled up.

I really don’t have any idea how people with neat houses do it; I also have no idea how to make my house stay clean and still have time to do anything else.  I do live with three people that have greater thresholds for mess than I do, so I do (probably a lot) more than my twenty-five percent, which contributes, but it’s still a mystery.  Even after working all weekend, there are still a ton of messy spots in the house; the bathroom I scrubbed top to bottom two weeks ago needs scrubbing again.  From a time management perspective, short of quitting my job and spending all of my time keeping up with the house, it seems impossible.  I presume that there are ways to make cleaning less labor intensive, so I’ve been focusing on setting up things in that vein, like getting the sheets sorted into nice storage bins and setting up cleaning supplies on every floor of the house.  The best that I’ve got is to keep trying to be more efficient, because I’m just not willing to give up the things I’d rather be doing just to have more time to keep the house clean.  Though I do love coming home to a clean house – the Saturday didn’t feel wasted, because the house seems so much fresher and restful now for all the decluttering and scrubbing that I did.  The process of turning chaos into order is a little bit magical, even though I’m not one to normally love cleaning.  On Saturday, though, it just felt like the right thing to be doing.

On the Sunday I made time to go out cycling, doing a 16 mile training ride in preparation for the 5 Boro Bike Tour, which we’re riding tomorrow.  Cycling is a funny sport for me.  I never want to actually go, but once I’m on a bike and past the first mile, I am filled with such a joy for the freedom that a bicycle brings. There’s really no other transport like it.  Cars rush you by so fast that you can barely take in your surroundings.  Walking is so slow that you barely get anywhere.  But on a bicycle, you can cover a decent amount of ground in a short enough period of time to really get somewhere, but you’re going slow enough that you have time to look around and really see where you are.  It’s a delightful mishmash of situation.  It’s freedom and adventure.  It always fills me with a wonder of the universe, as I get to see my surroundings in an entirely new way.

I tend to take a trail that runs from Massepequa to, I learned, Bethpage.  I was at the north end of the trail when a tall man with a rather impressively extended pot belly walked up to me.  He’d come to the park on foot.  He asked me if I knew how to get to some particular surrounding street.  I told him I had no idea even what town I was in, since I always start at the opposite end of the trail.  He looked at me in surprise, his eyebrows shooting upwards.  “You didn’t know this was Bethpage until I told you right now?”  Not at all, I assured him.  He looked amazed and chuckled, then walked away.  That’s the adventure of cycling; I managed to bike several towns away without even knowing where I was.  The town I was passing through was so irrelevant; but conversely I actually did know exactly where I was, in a different sense.  I knew the trees and the park and the water fountains and I knew how to get there.  What’s in a name?  It’s about the adventure.

I read a recent Time magazine article with Julia Luis Dreyfuss, who most of the world probably knows as Elaine from Seinfield. She’s apparently on a new show called Veep, in which she plays the vice-president.  As a feminist, I probably should have known about that and should probably even watch it.  As a me, I have failed once again at pop culture.  But the very last question they asked her was, “What would you change about your life if you had it to do over again?”  She said, brilliantly, “I would wear more sunblock.”

I am so inspired, Julia Luis Dreyfuss.  To the cycles and the pedals and the cleaning. I hope to live a life where I regret nothing and no time wasted. Here’s to the adventure and wonder of it all.

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Brooklyn Community Orchestra….and Paint

We went last night to see a concert put on by a local community orchestra, which was held in a giant Episcopalian church, complete with flying buttresses and peeling paint. We haven’t gone out much lately, so it was nice to be out on the town (that’s twice this week for me – write it down!).

The concert was absolutely beautiful – definitely a professional level, which we weren’t expecting when we heard the word community. Apparently standards are high for violinists in Brooklyn. One of my coworkers was in it and he performed beautifully, so that was added fun. Also, there was banana bread.

I’m afraid that was the highlight of the weekend, as the rest was spent painting (and procrastinating painting) the basement. My only job in finishing off the basement has been occasional labor in helping with sheet rock and painting, so I was in high demand this weekend to bring in my skills. I admit that there is some skill there, as I no longer bother with painter’s tape at all, having found that I draw a better line by hand. This is accomplished by having done far, far too much painting.

I haven’t had a cocktail update in a while now because in all the fuss with using power tools in the basement, we’ve been forgetting to drink, which is probably a good thing, as I hear power tools and alcohol don’t go so well together. But now, looking at the gleaming white walls and ceiling of the basement, I feel a sense of accomplishment and celebration coming on, which means we’ll probably have these lovely coffees that my fiancé makes.

Fiancé being annoyed at me and demonstrating the height of our (beautifully painted) basement ceiling:

Sorry folks, he’s taken. Irate looks and all.

Macker Coffee

Fra Angelica
coffee
heavy cream

Make coffee, add liberal shot of Fra Angelica (hazelnut liqueur), cover in slightly whipped cream. Hand out to others, become instantly beloved.

Now I think I’m going to investigate my household’s potential supplies for removing ceiling paint from fingernails. I’d wear it with pride, but primer is so not my color.

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