Monday, July 23, 2007

We're Off To

Yes, we're really going! Tomorrow we're leaving for just over a week on the Big Island of Hawaii. Neither of us have been, but we made the reservations back in February, and in a's here, and it's time. We'll celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary on Thursday, but this is no romantic escape -- the 2 monkeys are definitely coming with us. (And who would possibly volunteer to watch them for that long, anyway?)

It was stressful getting the house clean, the supplies bought, the clothes laundered, etc. Tonight, after finally putting our two very-wound-up and excited children to bed, I snapped to Myk, "We shouldn't be going on this trip. Only people who know how to relax and have fun should go on vacations."

Ah, sounds like we're all a bit overdue. Aloha! See you in August.


Friday, July 20, 2007


Yes, I'm still here. (Madly waving.) I really, really need to get on board with posting more often. I've been right here, at home, doing major kid-duty, as always. Anyway...

Last night I went alone to the movies to catch Evening, before it disappears from theaters and comes out on DVD in 3 weeks. (Isn't that about the rate of the theater-to-DVD turnaround these days?) I didn't have high hopes for the movie, yet I really wanted to see it, because I'd read the novel years ago, and it holds a special place in my heart. I read it while on spring break in that tiny little cabin pictured above, just me & Myk and our sock monkey, Fred. (Fred used to accompany us on all our travels, but now that we have children, he not-so patiently waits for attention on Myk's bed table.) I cannot remember what path my brain was traveling on, back in the spring of 2000, that made me decide going to Convict Lake in the high eastern Sierra's for spring break from grad school would be a great idea. It was, um, pretty cold. And it snowed quite a lot. But it was romantic, and we had the the little ring of cabins and the lake almost all to ourselves. One night, we had dinner in the very good lodge, with a fire burning and snow flakes dropping silently out the windows. We took a daytrip up to Mammoth, and the June Lake loop, and my beloved tufas at Mono Lake. And in between, back at the cabin, with the snow and the lake and the massive mountains right outside the door, I was reading Susan Minot's Evening.
This is first section of Evening, on the first page, and after reading it, I was snagged, utterly:

Where were you all this time? she said. Where have you been?
I guess far away.
Yes you were. Too far away.
They sat in silence.
You know you frightened me a little, she said. At the beginning.
You did.
He smiled at that.
You looked at if you didn't need anyone, she said.
But those are the ones who need it most, he said. Don't you know that?
I do now, she said. Too late.
Never too late to know something, he said.
Maybe not, she said. But too late to do any good.
Like I said, I didn't really have high hopes for the movie, and I wasn't wrong. The plot was changed quite a lot, from what I remember. The reason why Ann, the heroine, and Harris, her love, couldn't be together, was not at all the reason suggested in the movie. In the book, Ann's five grown children are not much more that shadow characters, floating in and out of their mother's bedroom as she lies dying and remembering the weekend in 1954 that she met and lost her one true love. In the movie, I was irritated and bored by the sibling rivalries and "life moments" shared by the 2 sisters. And what was up with that ending that totally ripped off The Way We Were? Well, I won't go into all the myriad differences between the novel & the film version. This is usually the case, isn't it? I would like to know, however, why all the commercials I saw proclaimed, "from the creator of The Hours..." True, Michael Cunningham did co-write & co-produce alongside Minot, but why does he get all the credit, when it's not his book or his vision?

Even though the critics have labeled the film a "tear-jerker," I didn't get misty for even a second. Compare that to when I read the devastating final, major scene between Ann and Harris. I remember that I was lying next to Myk on the small cabin bed as he napped, and the little wall heater kept blowing it's warm, dusty air through the room. I started reading and got immediately misty-eyed, and by the end of the scene, I had to bite on my knuckle to keep from sobbing out loud.

Later, I actually got to meet Susan Minot and even sit at the same table with her, at a women writer's conference in Long Beach. I remember shaking her hand and telling her how much I loved her novel. (Oh, how I hate sounding so inane and groupie-like, but just how else does one say these things?) I'm sitting here now, with my signed copy of the paperback on my desk, and it feels like a lifetime ago. I remember also that Ms. Minot had a great purse, and I was in awe of how...East Coast she looked and seemed.

One good thing about the movie: the gorgeous house used for the 1950s scenes, a real family home on the coast of Rhode Island (it's supposed to be Maine, in the book), with wonderful interiors and set decor. I swooned at the beautiful mural throughout the downstairs living room. (I read in House & Garden that it was painted by the home's original owner.) I've been on a real design-bender, combing through magazines and the 'net this week, and my hands are itching to get ahold of a brush and get to paintin'. I have big, big plans for my master bedroom. And after this week, I'm suddenly possessed by one rather startling and surprising word: wallpaper. (Yes, it's true, darling. As always, you just have to trust me on this.) It's going to be fabulous.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Like Palm Springs, Yet Not

We're in the full swing of summer over here. The days are super hot this week, up over 100 degrees. The weatherman says it'll be 105 today. When it's hot and brilliant and cloudless like this, I can almost, almost squint my eyes and pretend that we're in Palm Springs. Except, well, even though P.S. is just over an hour northeast of us, it's still sort of another dimension and lifetime away, too. Where Palms Springs is lousy with old people and gay realtors (not to disparage either group -- I'm just sayin'), this place is instead lousy with kids, kids and more kids, and the people who take care of them (stay at home moms like me). Also, we still cool down pretty quickly after dark, which I guess is nice for most, but listen -- until you've sat out by the pool, under the stars, on a 95-degrees-at-10pm Palm Springs night, you've never lived.

Speaking of staying home with the children -- I'm also celebrating the fact that as of July 1, I'm no longer serving as Co-President of my neighborhood chapter of this group:
The group whose name I cannot mention here. No, that's not quite true. It's just that the club, for whatever reason seems to operate under a "Fight Club" method of survival, which is "the first rule of MOMS Club is there IS no MOMS Club." At least not out on the Internet, besides their official site. I've run into a few stories out there of people being asked to remove links to their site, or being asked to delete any mention of them. They're a little defensive, officially, and their literature and statement of intent reflect a rather dated, 1980s defensiveness about the choice to stay home with the kids. I have to say, the club, or at least our local chapter, has worked out well for me. For the first time as an adult, I have a fairly steady social life and have even made a couple of real, true friends here in town, friendships that don't hinge on the fact that we're also mothers. A bizarre turn of events for me, the former Official Loner of the world, and also, that girl who didn't get along with women, much. That part still seems true sometimes -- but for a group of over 50 very different women, we get along pretty well. (It probably helps that it's awfully rare to have all 50 together at any point.) As for the fact that I served as Co-President for this group for the last 12 months, all I can say is that my volunteering for the job should stand as proof of what a terrible sucker I am for flattery.

Today, and the rest of the week, will feature more SPF 50 sunscreen for the kids, more splashing in sprinklers and water slides in the backyards of friends, more coming inside at twilight to get washed up from the hot, sweaty day. More June bugs at my front door in the dark, and more clear and starry summer night skies. Ah, we're in the swing of it all.