Monday, October 27, 2008

Will I ever be timely with the Friday 5?

Last week's was on habitation:
5 places I have lived: what did I like, what kind of place was it, did anything special happen there.

1. I spent most of my life in one house, 211 Lincoln Road, Lincoln, Mass. I loved my growing-up house. I remember when we first moved and I couldn't see over the bathroom counter to the mirror and one day seeing my head in the mirror. I remember hiding in the large cupboard next to the stove, and climbing (with apparently prehensile toes) up to the top of the refrigerator, for whatever it was that my mom stored there. I remember the hot stillness of the crawl space before my mom renovated it into a master suite and the cool creepy basement with the coal chute, wood pile, and dark room. I think I thought all houses looked like mine, even when I knew plenty of houses that didn't.

2. From 9 on, we spent our summers in Westport, Mass, the town of my ancestors and where my mom now lives. I am rooted in my sense of place there: farms, fens, estuary, ocean. Westport was the perfect combination of cool trees, tall grass, balancing stone fences and water: river water that pulls in one direction or the other, slurping water in the shallow boat pond, salty water with the potential for jellyfish. I loved the sound of the waves lapping under Kate's boathouse and the smell of hot flowers: roses, rosehips, day lilies.

3. The room I lived in my senior year in college was papered in flowers. Posters, postcards, wallpaper strips - every wall had flowers and photographs. I also had 3 enormous windows with shutters. My room jutted out over the security office in the basement and it was almost as if it were it's own building. The ceiling was high and the windows went all the way up. I had a modern oak desk and a bed with drawers under the mattress. I fell out of my bed several times and sometimes slept on my futon. My desk was for show rather than work, as I had a carrel in library, but Felicity, the American Girl from colonial times, perched on top. That room was a sanctuary and I think I try to recreate it a little bit in every house we live in.

4. For 3 months Joe and I lived in a hotel suite in California, while he was going through his basic school for the Civil Engineer Corps. I can remember learning to make creamed corn and hanging out with my new Navy-wife friends. It wasn't so much of a place to remember as a time to remember: newly married, newly on our own, forging our own identity/ies. I also kept meticulous files!

5. I loved our house in Rhode Island. It was a raised ranch with few closets and little that charmed. But the landlady had the wall-to-wall ripped up and the entire living area was hardwood. There were ceiling fans in all the rooms and windows on each wall. The sunlight streamed into that house, especially the living room with its blousy white curtains. Ironic, isn't it, that I so disliked actually living IN Rhode Island?

**I've also lived in Brookline (when I was small); Nicaragua, where the rain pelted the tin roof and I could literally hear the cows come home past my window; Guam, more rain and a baby; California, where I tried my hardest to imbed myself in the ecology of the place as much as I was a part of my childhood homes; Indiana, where to my surprise I found I liked the Midwest, and had another baby; New Jersey and the absolute stillness of 9/11; Mississippi, where my home wasn't the address on my mail but the church building that bolstered me, buffered me, and made me see the world differently; and Sicily. I consider some friends' houses home, as in places where I have learned more about myself and who I want to be/am. St Anne's undercroft and choir room was my home for much of my elementary and jr high years and I was well-loved and cared for there. I consider some museums and the rehearsal space beneath Jordan Hall a type of home, as well. Being able to call more than a house a home prepared me well for a life that requires me to move.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

6 Degrees of...

Perhaps it's not fair when the degrees include the Navy and the Episcopal Church, but when they also include cake?!

The post below is from Cake Wrecks. Now, I don't know this woman personally, but I think she's funny and I like her dedication to cynicism in the kitchen. Sometimes I disagree with her - the post with the head-stealing eyeball dolls is a great example.
Aren't they great? I.MUST.HAVE.THOSE.CAKES.

Ahem. The eyeball people have NOTHING to do with degrees of separation. Well, there is some separation going on there, but it doesn't have anything to do with my post.

Back to Cake Wrecks. I like Cake Wrecks. I also like my friend Nancy. I was going to put a photo of her right here ** but I can't find any. I'm rather distraught, because although I am not the world's best correspondent, I do pride myself on being able to keep track of friends. I do have several very blurry photos of her younger daughter, but that's not quite the same thing, is it?

Nancy and I were neighbors in Rhode Island. We moved around the corner, she moved to Japan. She came back for a short visit, we picked her and the girls up on one end of Rt 91 and drove them back to the other...and then we moved to Sicily and they moved, well, from Okinowa closer to Tokyo.

Nancy sends great emails. She has put her quirky sense of humor and master's in French literary criticism to great use in detailing for us Americans the Japanese way of life.

A few months ago I received an email from Nancy telling me, and the rest of the recipients of her emails, that she had set up a blog. Big Harmony. (I don't get the title and I always look at it in my blogroll and think, "Do I know any polygamous families?")

Go on. Check out Big Harmony.

And scroll down on the right a little bit.

What's that you see? Cake Wrecks?

What a small world it is!

Ciao bella, Nancy!

(And, please! send me a photo!)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Far Out Man

This photo comes to you via Grand Foret from Cake Wrecks and was created for the 2007 Kentucky State Fair by a woman named Heather.