Baby whispers, “Hide….hide….” and then she disappears behind the couch.
Baby says, “Rrrooooarr!” as she reveals herself to me.
She points, she coos, I try to get her to say my name.
I pick her up, I carry her around, I pull her in the wagon.
A cat appears, he prances around, he avoids her, he is scared of the Baby.
She points to him, then watches as he follows along.
“Hide…hide!” I can hear her small mind whispering.
Fri 27 Feb 2009
Baby whispers, “Hide….hide….” and then she disappears behind the couch.
Wed 25 Feb 2009
A bacterial infection has struck down my throat…I feel like I’m swallowing glass, my glands are the size of oranges, and when I went to the doctor I learned that the white patches on my soft palate are actually pus. I was thrilled to receive antibiotics…thrilled.
Sun 22 Feb 2009
Thu 19 Feb 2009
I started a book at a friend’s house and then couldn’t put it down. Instead of borrowing her copy, I decided to purchase my own. It was 14 dollars at the U bookstore–’That’s so much!” my sister and I exclaimed. We’ve both been spoiled by the half priced book store where she currently works. Books are rarely over ten dollars. Plus, this was a paperback! 14 dollars!
Anyway, I don’t want to give too much of this book away because I’m sure many folks are reading it. The crux of the book is an illicit affair between an eccentric artist and a progressive woman in the early 1900’s. Both parties leave their spouses and their children in order to pursue their affair in Europe–a truly radical act in 1910. The book is based off of their letters, journals, etc.
Anyway, I was half way through the book when I decided to look up the artist and his lover on wikipedia for a little extra insight. Bad idea. Turns out the woman was brutally murdered–her house set on fire by one of the men building their home. Then he goes crazy with an axe and chops up 7 people–including her children. I was shocked. I flipped to the end of the paperback and sure enough it ends with fire, murder, and despair. So, I totally spoiled the end of the book. And, I have to say I was really duped into thinking this biography was going to have a happy ending. I had been lounging around in the sun, enjoying a mini-vacation at my parent’s house, reading all about the progressive artist movement in the early 1900’s. Now I don’t want to pick this book up again…not if it ends so tragically.
Subsequently, I had a series of nightmares last night. None about fire, but lot’s of hiding, seeking, worry, weaponry, and general discomfort. Twice, I woke up and told myself sternly, “Now, stop this…you need nice dreams.” It didn’t matter, one bad dream would simply turn into another and now I”m all tuckered out.
Sun 15 Feb 2009
I’ve been thinking about my relationship with the different parts of Seattle:
In Capitol Hill, I’ll be walking out of dance class wearing green pants, a red bandana, and an orange windbreaker and this looks completely normal.
Magnolia is associated with Pamela and her baby. After the baby was born, I spent time over at her house helping out. Magnolia is fancy if not totally isolated, a maze of roads and bridges to get to, (similar to Ballard, which I unconscionably scoff at).
The U District and I are unusually close. I spend three days out of five in this neighborhood working, visiting my sister, and occasionally walking down memory lane. Yesterday, the smell of Thai food wafted over me and I was filled with the hunger that only inexpensive ethnic food can bring.
Georgetown is where my husband’s secret life is. Over the past year he has rigged up security cameras for a popular bar on the industrial strip. You can find him there when I’m at rehearsal, drinking off his extended bar tab and blending in with the locals.
My sister spent her first year living in a sublet in Greenlake, which is why I ended up spending so much time there. We did the usual Greenlake-y things: walked around the lake and made fun of all the rich people.
Queen Anne is the awkward home of Seattle Center–where I rehearsed constantly for Soft Rock. I’ve gotten very good at finding secret parking in this neighborhood…and I have a few friends that live there. For some reason, Queen Anne always feel ‘far.’
I baby-sit in West Seattle and it’s OK.
Freemont used to be the easiest place for me to get Peet’s coffee, (now I go to Cap Hill). In the 90’s it was way cuter and quirkier. Now it’s traded its hipster glasses for contact lenses.
I lived in Madrona for a year and loved its easy-to-walk streets, Cupcake Royale, and St. Clouds. However, despite being filled with children, none of the locals send them to the nearby public school, so the facility is floundering.
Downtown may be a mystery for many Seattleties, but since it’s the home of the Market Theater, I have that neighborhood wrapped around my finger. Every weekend I drive all over the grid searching for parking and every week I find it–the tricks and the secrets are mine!
Columbia City is worth it for the bakery, the famer’s market and its exemplary gentrification.
Rainier Beach is unique, diverse, fragile, and the place I call home. It is close to the water, cheap eats, and always seems to be walking a fine line as a transitional part of the city. Not a neighborhood I would have ever picked to rent in, we bought a house there instead! And that’s worth the adventure….right?
Thu 12 Feb 2009
Went to Costco for D batteries for the electronic rat traps…they didn’t have them! So, I ended up purchasing a flat of 15 primroses and 11 pounds of soil. At first I was hesitant because my yard is ugly with scars from the new sewer. However, I decided it shouldn’t deter my desire for beauty every time I go outside, or get into my car, or look out my window.
When I got home, I talked my cat into joining me outside. I had this fantasy of her prowling around while I planted all of my new flowers. Instead she sulked, occasionally skulked around, until finally she met me at the front door and begged to be let back inside. (Damn, cat…43 degrees isn’t that cold! It was even sunny!). The neighborhood was oddly quiet, with only the occasional bird chirp, and my backyard neighbor wordlessly working on his own lawn.
It took 45 minutes, several planters, and quite a lot of clean up but my flowers are planted. And they look beautiful.
Tue 10 Feb 2009
With sewer problems come rat problems…they go hand-in-hand, don’t you know? So last Saturday, despite feeling heavy colds in our chests, Josh and I sealed off entrances on our roof. The old house was built in 1914, so there are places where the wood sags, the paint barely holds, and the little vermin cheerfully stroll into our crawl space. There is evidence they’re hanging under the house too, cute little holes being dug under the baseboards and insulation pulled down. A week ago we saw a huge rat scuttle across our alley way and dive into a patch of homey blackberries. YUCK!
Before sealing off the entrances, Josh researches ways to kill rats. He rejects poison (they die in the walls), glue traps (they die struggling to death against the powerful grip of glue), and old-school traps (they snap their little necks half the time, the other half they steal the food right out of the trap). It’s with a certain thrill that Josh chooses the T-REX RAT TRAP. Loaded up with C batteries, the cage lures the rat in and then ZAPS it to death. The problem is that neither McLindons or Home Depot carry it–despite being on their respective websites. (And by the way, it’s true about Home Depot: with economic doom nipping at their heels their customer service has never been so grand!) We decide to order the rat zapper online.
In the meantime, Josh is on the roof, upside down, with a big piece of mesh and a staple gun. My hands are numb, my feet are blue, the weather threatens snow. I can’t quite conceive of throwing my leg over the ladder and landing on the roof. Instead I perch on a rung, carefully going up an extra step, trying to rationalize away my fear. (After all, I used to climb trees as a girl, surely this height isn’t any higher then the fir tree out back?) I hand Josh tools, measurements, make notes. Our neighborhood seems loud, filled with bass that Saturday afternoon, and unfriendly. We look at our house with resignation, this wasn’t a house we thought we would be in for very long, the market wasn’t suppose to turn out this way. Now rats have moved in and we are unwilling roommates.
Before getting on the roof, before looking at rat traps, before freezing our extremities, Josh and I surveyed the destroyed bushes in our front yard. Yanked up by the roots when replacing the sewer line, an entire overgrown bush lay on our lawn. I had dismantled most of it and stuffed the branches in our yard waste bin a little at a time. Now Josh was pulling on what was left, and it was clearly rotten. In a matter of minutes a second bush lay next to the first. I didn’t think it was possible for our front yard to look any uglier. But then our inner landscapers came out; soon we were making plans, imagining a small retaining wall with flowers, rose bushes lining the ugly chain link fence that line our property, and dirt being delivered for new grass to grow. It suddenly seemed very appropriate to yank out these ugly front bushes. Besides, one of them was dead, it would have fallen over eventually, leaving us with this ugly yard. Sometimes, it’s just meant to be…
Fri 6 Feb 2009
Last night the cops knocked on our door. They were looking for a person who used to live here–we receive his mail often. The mail always looks really intense, like he’s in trouble with the government for unpaid parking tickets or taxes or something. At least that’s what I thought, until I looked him up online and found some old dirt. Domestic violence, a political career that probably went no where, and who knows where he is now? Well, folks are looking for him…and it was a little jarring to be watching “Gone Baby, Gone” in our living room (great flick, btw) and watch a cop car go by and flash a spotlight on our house. A few minutes later two fellows were on our front porch asking how long we’d lived at this location, if we bought the place from him, and where he might be.
Lately, there have been more sirens, more gang activity, and everyone seems to be a little bit on edge. Blame the economy…I know I do. While listening to Tavis Smiley on npr, one of his guests said, “When white folks catch a cold, black folks catch pneumonia.” He was referring to job loss, foreclosure, etc. As I look around at the wavering ‘for sale’ signs, the occasional abandoned home, and the packs of kids that move suspiciously around the neighborhood I wonder how true that is.
Last Friday, I performed two back to back shows at the Triple Door. The experience was almost too overwhelming to process. I was a rigid, fatigued, board when I lay down at 2am to try and sleep. I awoke at 10am, shaky and disoriented. The sun was barely shining, the light was orange, the temperature was cold. I felt an incredible peace, a happiness that comes from doing something deeply satisfying. I went on a walk and the neighborhood seemed beautiful and wonderful. I walked to the water. I didn’t know that at 4am the night before, multiple gunshots rang out two blocks from my house. I’m proud to say that 8 of my neighbors called 911–we don’t ignore gunshots in my hood! But when the cops arrived they found nothing and no one…a mystery.
Thu 5 Feb 2009
I know it’s wrong to buy blueberries in the winter, I KNOW…but feasting on them in the morning brings a little festivity to a dull, grey morning.
Wed 4 Feb 2009
I had Tuesday off…not because I wanted it, but because I’m in between a few teaching schedules. Over Thanksgiving our oven lost it’s turkey virginity, and well, the poor gal has been through the ringer. I mentioned scrubbing out the oven to my mom with brilo pads and she said, “No! No! You must use lye…here, I’m going to give you this book….it has all the basics.” So for Christmas, Mom gave me “Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House.” Inside this big book is everything from how to properly hang t-shirts on a clothes line to the details of every fork and spoon you might find on a table. It explores care labels, proper dusting techniques, and yes, how to clean a stove. There is also a big chapter on how to wrap your mind around housework–it’s not unfeminist to want a clean home after all. 100 years ago women took great pride in keeping up a nice home…now we have careers, kids, pets, etc. to contend with as well. Many of us also had working mothers who maybe couldn’t devote tons of time breaking it down to their kids, (although most of my housekeeping knowledge comes from Mom…like how to fold socks and stuff). I love this book, because it’s the art AND science of doing something that, well, I have to do in some capacity every day.
So, it’s my day off and what do I do? I THROW myself into housework with wild enthusiasm–inspired largely by the book. I wash the floor, I finish the odds and ends of laundry (I can never seem to follow through with a load, leaving the last batch of whites dry in the dryer to languish), I do dishes, I vacuum and wipe down the couch, I open windows to let natural air in, I change the sheets on the bed (but only after leaving the bed naked for an hour in order to properly vent the mattress), I bake a raspberry roll-up cake and then finish off with a baked chicken.
Oh, and this doesn’t count outdoors: slowly over the weeks I’ve been dismantling the uprooted bushes that lay waste after our sewer pipe was installed. This involves straddling the bush with a pair of dull clippers and pulling and wrenching until the branches snap into small, manageable, yard-waste bin pieces. Over and over I stuff branches into the bin, mashing them down with muddy boots and dusty gloves hands. Then I rake leaves–the grass underneath has been struggling to breath all winter. I pull out the extension cord and pretty soon I’m vigorously vacuuming my car out. (I spend a lot of time in my car and it sure feels better when it’s clean).
Then I balanced the checkbook, paid our mortgage over the phone…and watched a little Oprah (just like a real house wife!) Today, I have a wicked sore throat and it’s back to work. What happened? Did I get too much smog-filled air? Did the triple show duty over the weekend catch up with me? Did I unhinge too much dust with my new techniques? At any rate, it’s back to the grindstone.