Friday fishwrap

So —

My phone, which is my camera, is not cooperating, and I cannot show you any pictures, and I’m quite sad about that.

But here’s what’s going on:

  • We went to the Exploratorium last night and it was so much fun. It stays open til 11. We went for dinner (the food is quite good). Actually, our new movie club met — it was a quite successful meeting. After dinner and our discussion, we played with the exhibits and went outside and watched the Bay Lights come on. It was a warm night and just so lovely. The museum has just moved, and reopened. The new space is gorgeous — right on pier 15 on the Embarcadero in a lovely old warehouse made over for them. My friend A was responsible for moving the exhibits, and her husband A for a lot of the exhibit design, so they are very pleased, and rightly so. Really — it’s so beautiful. The exhibits are so much fun — it’s all hands on science stuff that is very fun to watch, or to play with.
  • All of us in my office are now standing up at our desks, convinced as we are that it is Death to do otherwise. I’ve got my keyboard balanced on an atlas and a ream of paper. It is more tiring, but it actually feels pretty good. You definitely move around a lot more, which is good, according to this article, among others. It does make it difficult to do boring things, though, since it’s hard to maintain the zombie-like state required for that.
  • M and I have been watching Vice youtubes. We particularly like the ones about North Korea. We have no plans to go there at all. One of them, though, was filmed at a lumber camp in Siberia, and the scenery was very much like the scenery in the Long Way Round. I think I might like to go there.
  • M’s pochade box arrived, and paints have been purchased.
  • I think that may be all. (And god, I need to sit down!)

walk at dusk

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M and I went on a small hike last evening.

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I haven’t really been hiking at all lately, and it felt great.

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It seems early to me for the hills to be so golden. But maybe the end of May is normal — it also seems really early for peaches to be in the grocery store, but maybe that’s normal, too. Is it?

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Then we went home and watched The Conversation for our new movie club. Parts of it seemed really dated, but I actually liked it a lot.

It’s summer! Evening walks and movie viewings and have M at home!
I’m in favor.

Short week

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M is just learning to drive. I realize this is late (she’s older than 16), but she’s not the only one. A lot of her friends, and her sister’s friends, and children of friends of mine, don’t drive. I think it’s where we live — you can get around pretty well without driving. It’s not like where I grew up, where you were trapped at home if you didn’t drive, and it often wasn’t easy for friends to come and pick you up, since they may have lived far away.

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We’ve also been speculating that more online communication and texting makes it less tragic to hang out at home. That’s probably more true for some than for others. But we also live in walking distance of downtown. It’s interesting, because I like that a lot, although I think I would also like living out in the woods. But would I really? Something to consider.

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Anyway, the reason I mention is that we’ve been driving around some amazing, unpopulated places, like this old naval base which is full of huge warehouses and parking lots, right on the water.

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Or also, out on country roads, but I have no pictures of that.

She did a good job of avoiding the bicyclists and a roller skater.

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I think it helps that the places she’s practicing are pretty uniformly beautiful.

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To us, anyway.

Long weekend

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Long weekend coming up.

We need to: unpack and put away M’s belongings. This involves incorporating a large number of art works into our decor. The weasel has found a place on the desk under the front window, where he’s out of the sun. That leaves a badger, a horse, and about 80 crows still to house, not to mention some pretty nice prints. Our house does not have a tremendous amount of wall space. Anyway, linked with this is the need to get rid of a bunch of stuff we don’t want. Really. I mean it this time.

The outside needs a bit of work, too. Ahem.

We’ve got to make sure everything is set for M’s trip to Italy. The pochade box! We need to order it! Plus paints, brushes — that stuff she has, or can get locally. I think there are questions, though. And does she have anything to wear? (Probably yes.)

And I’ve got a long hike in mind that I hope I can coax M to come on with me . . .

There’s just a lot — I was just discussing this with my friend L, who said she could retire and she would still have a full time job. It’s a thought.

And then of course there has to be some kind of barbecue — that goes without saying, I think. Which is another reason to get all the spider webs off the outside chairs . . .

Okay, then

Signs of the times

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All over campus, graduates are posing before iconic objects, talking to parents, twiddling with tassels and hats and looking kind of stunned.

I’ve been impatient – dodging around them as they stand in the middle of the sidewalk while their parents think about lunch, or where they parked the car, of how much their feet are hurting as they trail abotu the campus. Today I had to walk down to the main library, though, and the sight of this recent PhD posing for her parents made me smile.

It’s quite an accomplishment!

Sunday

I have made a delicious cauliflower pesto for dinner, made some headway with the laundry and the garden . . .

Time to go try out the lawn chairs, I think.

I’m working my way through the mystery novels of Ake Edwardson. They’re better the more you read, I think.

The house is empty and it’s warm outside.

I suppose if I fell asleep out there it wouldn’t be the end of the world, either.

Pictures of E

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K’s aunt had the goods – a series of great pictures of K’s mother E, her siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and even her grandparents. We’ll have to go back soon and make copies of all the photos and then distribute copies to the family. In the picture above, E is in the middle at age 7. She had her brothers and sisters are standing around a rabbit in a cage. Somebody’s dog is sniffing the rabbit. The aunt we visited sits on the right. The uncle we visited is peering at the rabbit.

She seems a bit smaller in this school picture, maybe 5? To me, she looks a bit like M when she was small here — actually, I’ve seen this expression on both M and N, I think.

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A back to school photo, maybe from the same year?

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And here are she and her sister with their cats. (!)

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Vacation report

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We’re back.

Contrary to expectation, it was a great vacation.

My brother’s wedding in Massachusetts was lovely. Good choices included not having the ceremony at my mother’s house, having the rehearsal dinner catered, our staying at a B and B. W is lovely and so is her family. I’d forgotten that she and my brother met in high school (they are now in their 40s) which meant that there were all kinds of Connecticut connections, which should not have been surprising but somehow was. My brother is younger than I am, but since my mother has moved east and I never go to Connecticut, I don’t often meet people who know about the town I’m from. That was fun.

I dawdled an extra day with my mother, which was nice, and then drove north to hang out with N. I’m starting to really like the town she lives in, let’s call it the “Second biggest city in Maine.” Honestly, that was probably the most vacation-like part of our trip. N went to work and K and I drove to to the beach one day, and spent one day just around town. We stayed in a luxurious hotel (well, not the very cheapest of the cheap) and didn’t have to do much of anything.

From there, I flew to Ohio, where I packed up M while she worked furiously to finish a seven ft. tall self portrait in pencil. (I stayed with Jeanne!) That took days, and we left for NY on Saturday night at 7, stayed over night in a rainstorm at a very sketchy motel in Erie, PA, arriving in Morrisville on Sunday morning. K’s aunt and uncle were lovely, and tons of his cousins came. It was really really great. We stayed there til Tuesday, when we drove to New Hampshire to see K’s aunt and more cousins. It was a really good idea to do this, if I do say so myself. K’s aunts and uncles are still sharp, but elderly. We looked through tons of pictures, and they remembered so much. It’s so odd to me, coming from an almost obsessively family-oriented family, that families can sort of drift apart the way K’s seems to have. Or rather, they haven’t, but K has from them. We heard from K’s aunt that there was a family reunion some years ago that K’s brothers both went to. I’m not sure we even knew about it, although perhaps we did. Part of that has to do with our being in California, but part of it, I think, has to do with K’s family not regarding it as very important. In any case, we spent a great weekend with K’s uncle, and N and M now know them and like them — it helps that we actually already knew one cousin very well, since he went to art school near us, but his parents are great. Also, upstate New York is so beautiful — who knew? Like Maine, it was just beginning to leaf out. Morrisville is in a rural area full of rolling hills between the Catskills and the Adirondacks. If I weren’t already committed to Maine, I would be torn. K’s uncle has a camp on a little lake near their house which was perfect — a simple house, a dock, a bunch of canoes —

Anyway. Pretty idyllic. Family connections renewed. Strangely restful — maybe because although we went many places, we didn’t have to do very much in any of them. Very, very nice.