My Twitter friend Francesca issued a photo challenge to take a photo an hour (or more!) all day yesterday. These are mine:
I am 35 today.
I woke up before my children (because my bladder is a bitch) and have done very little today. Ate bagels. Read a book. Took a bath. (I might have done those two things at the same time.) Drank lots of coffee. Went to a bakery for cake. Bought booze. Ran for president. (No, but it’s really the only interesting thing being 35 allows you to do.)
Will gave me the collector’s edition blu-ray of Blade Runner. It has FOUR VERSIONS of the movie over three discs, plus special features and a DVD of I don’t even remember which version. The children gave me a gift certificate for a new brassiere, which might not sound exciting but it is. They went to Jenette Bras with Will and filled out the card themselves. Vasquez complimented Grace’s hair. (I probably ought to stop thinking of her as Vasquez. I will never stop thinking of her as Vasquez. I am considering trying to work up the courage to ask her to sign her character card from the Aliens board game.)
So, this is 35.
Lately I have been so into the books I’ve been reading that I’ve read each of them twice. Finished reading, went straight back to the beginning. With Code Name Verity it was somewhat necessary (the second half of the book explains a lot of what’s going on in the first half); with the others, I just wasn’t ready to be done.
On Tuesday I am going rollerskating for the first time in at least 20 years (probably 25). I am a liiiiiittle nervous.
But first, dinner tonight at Hop Louie, my favorite restaurant in Chinatown, followed by drinks at our place.
If I do not spend all of my money on food and beverages, I might get a tattoo. Poppies on my right arm. (Because someone asked, they don’t represent fucking opium. They are the California state flower and they are my favorite color and they are very pretty.)
Current unfounded fear (perhaps I should try going the fuck to sleep): when the children and I visit my mother in the fall, people will think Will and I are in trouble because he isn’t coming with us. Which is because, you know, he has to work.
Originally, I was going to fly out alone for a weekend so mom and I could go to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck together. But then my sister’s wedding date ended up being just two weeks later, and flying out twice seemed so expensive that I decided to bring Sam and Grace and just stay. Except it only just now occurs to me that if Will flies out to join us for the wedding, we’ll end up paying for the same number of plane tickets as we would the other way around. Only now I am pretty attached to the idea of staying for those two weeks and seeing my east coast friends and family.
But now I’m all anxious for fear that said friends and family will jump to conclusions and the last thing I want to do is go around insisting that no, really, Will and I are so happy! Which we are, but thinking about defending it exhausts me.
GO TO SLEEP, ANNIKA.
I am friendly with the office manager/receptionist/whatever she is at Sam’s speech therapist’s office. Lori. At last week’s appointment—
Lori: How old were you when you moved out on your own?
I’ve given that answer for literally half my life and it occurred to me last week that it isn’t actually true. At seventeen I moved out of my mother’s house and into a sublet apartment with my father. We lived as roomies for most of a year.
The apartment was kind of horrible. It was essentially one room–you entered into an anteroom, bathroom off to the right and a typical New York kitchenette at the end; that room was filled with boxes and things of my father’s that move from one temporary apartment to another.
Then the main room, a large square that held my futon in the corner against the wall shared with the kitchen; a low table with our stereo on it (receiver and record player to start, with large headphones at first and later a pair of good Bose speakers that I still have and can’t quite part with, and even later a Denon single disk CD player that I also still have but would love to be rid of); across from that, my father’s futon folded up to sit on; next to it, a table with two chairs in front of the window overlooking a courtyard.
He brought me an African Violet from the Bronx Botanical Gardens and I kept it on that windowsill. That violet moved with me everywhere that I went until I came to California. You cannot bring flora of any kind into California. I’m not sure what happened to it then.
There was another window too, the one with the fire escape. Sometimes I’d climb out and just sit on the fire escape. My friend Nell lived in the attic bedroom of a big house in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and she used to climb out onto the roof below her window (it must have been over a porch or something) at night and smoke and feel dangerous. My fire escape was basically the same thing, I guess. My solitary version of the escape I usually took daily, to the coffee shop around the corner.
Just before my 18th birthday, my father moved out of state. I stayed with friends for a week or two, Paul and Stefan and Paul’s girlfriend Kyra. Stefan let me have his room, overlooking Tompkins Square Park. Paul took me to his little brother Johnnie’s wonderful garden apartment for dinner on my birthday. Spaghetti and red wine. A year or two later, long after I’d moved out of the city, I visited John’s apartment again for a brunch party. Bagels and mimosas.
(Paul and I have been in and out of touch over the years since. I emailed him in a panic after the World Trade Center fell, as Johnny had worked in building 5. I think it was five. He was long gone from that firm, in Europe when it happened. Thank god.)
I will be 35 in twelve days.
I miss that apartment on West 21st Street. The diner is no longer there, around the corner on 8th Avenue. I wonder what happened to Anna, the Greek woman who ran the place. She was always there, whether I came for coffee in the morning or coffee 11:00 at night. I took cream and sugar back then. I’d stopped eating eggs before I moved there, but I think I started again because what else would I eat at a diner? She didn’t butter the toast unless asked to.
Sam: I did it, Mom! I ran really fast.
Me: You’re my Wally West.
Grace: And you look like the Flash, too!
(I didn’t mention that he actually looks like Wally West but not like The Flash, because I was so goddamn proud of her for knowing who Wally West is.)
Internet, I need you to do me a favor. It’s a little one, and I’ll be super-grateful.
You know how Mary goes to Misselthwaite Manor, and it’s wintertime, and everything is grey? And then the spring comes and the moors come to life and it’s all a big magical metaphor? (And then the book becomes about Colin instead of Mary and as a kid I didn’t mind but when I re-read it more recently it made me really angry?)
So, I have a picture in my head of what the moors look like. It’s been there since I was about five. And I’ve seen pictures since then of what the moors look like in spring and summer (omg heather is so pretty). But none of what they look like in the wintertime when they are grey and lifeless.
My google-fu is weak today and I can’t find a good one. I know some of you are in northern England, or have been there, or are good at finding things on the internet. Can you help?
So, a thing that I cannot really recommend doing, and yet wholeheartedly recommend doing, is officiating a three day roller derby tournament.
I worked six games over the three days, and I kind of feel like I am going to die.
I also have not had that much fun, like, ever.
I missed my family like crazy, though that was slightly lessened on the final day when I had the bright idea to have Will bring Sam and Grace to watch. They came with me in the morning and we watched the Juniors championship together. Then they went home for lunch and I got ready for my last bout of the weekend. When it was over and I exited the track, a little voice called, “Mom!” and a little arm went around me and there was Sam! It was the best.
Grace wants to “roller skate like the derby dolls.” She says, “I skate and I skate and I skate and I fall down and I get up and I skate.” So, you know, she totally gets it! Of course it’s basically impossible to find any real skates that are small enough for her. I mean, for less than like $200. I found those in her size. Sigh.
Anyway. Roller derby! Yay!
My supremely clever (and super-adorable) knitting/designing buddy, Annie Watts, designed these mittens:
(The palms look like this.)
I am going to use these charts on a sweater for Sam. I’ve done the math and it works perfectly with the yarn I plan to use at the gauge I get with said yarn. YAY!
My concern is how to distribute colors. I was planning to do navy blue (Lake) and light grey (Beluga), but Sam would really like his sweater to have some yellow (Firefly) as well because his favorite colors are yellow and blue.
I’m thinking navy for the hem, skyline, and robots; grey for the background; and yellow for the sky/rest of sweater. What do you think? Creepy or awesome?
And once we’ve worked THAT out, where should the robots be placed? I was originally going to do a cardigan, which would be easy: a robot on each front. But then I realized I don’t have any interest in stranded knitting flat, so fuck that. It will be a short-sleeved pullover. Robots on the front? Back? One on each?
So, Sam turned seven. I don’t really understand how that’s possible–but I also can’t really imagine how he’s still just a little kid, when I have known him forever.
Sam is a consumer.
I don’t mean that in the sense of purchasing merchandise, but he also does that. He’s been getting an allowance for several months and he saves it for the things he wants.
What I mean, though, is that he consumes television, video games, books…he watches, plays, and lives in other worlds. He recreates ideas from media with his toys–his many, many Imaginext toys become not only Batman and friends but Transformers (Hal Jordan is Optimus Prime; Kilowog is Bumblebee; Catwoman is Arcee) or whatever else Sam is interested in.
His favorite colors are blue and yellow. He always chooses the blue or yellow game piece when we play a board game. Oh, how he loves board games! For his birthday we gave him Catan Junior, which is not only a super-fun game but is also pirate-themed! Pirates are one of his longest-running interests, after Star Wars and Superheroes.
He loves to run in circles, play ball, and ride any and all wheeled conveyances. He has totally mastered his wheel shoes, can ride his freewheeel scooter in circles around you, and is ready for us to put the pedals on his bike. He plays tag and red light green light and an assortment of other playground games that as far as I can tell no one ever actually taught him.
He loves to play with his sister. He loves Calvin and Hobbes. He loves Mario, Luigi, and everyone else in Nintendoland. He likes ice cream and cookies but is still fairly unimpressed by cake and all other sweets. (He had an ice cream cake for his birthday.)
He has BIG emotions. Very big. As happens every year, I have had to remind myself that his period of disequilibrium happens in the months surrounding his birthday every year. (Remember 23 months? I don’t, but I guess that happens when you’re sleep deprived.)
I don’t always understand him, but I love him so, so much.