30 January 2009

My Inner Luddite

Off The Hook (one & two) & R.S.V.P

I am dork about voicemail.

Even when I am preparing myself to do nothing more than leave a message, once that beep indicates I may begin, everything in my brain scrambles.


And I leave these rambling, muttering, nonsensical messages. “Um, hi. It’s me. Uh. Erin. And I was just calling because – um, why was it? – oh, yeah! I have this question…”

And those are my more articulate attempts.

It’s surprising really. When you consider what a great start answering machines and I had. My dad was the first person I knew to get one. (Not an unexpected twist. He was always first with anything technological – such an early adopter the term didn’t even exist yet.) I was seven. And I was so thrilled to hear an automated voice on the end of the line. And, more importantly, thrilled by the thought of my own voice on someone else’s tape machine. Joy!

I think I called him 17 times that day. To babble on and on about anything I could think of.

“Hi Dad. It’s Erin. Mom made me peanut butter and honey for lunch. And it was perfect. That spun honey -- you know? the one with the bear on the outside...”

Probably followed by:

“Hi Dad. It’s Erin. I’m up in the bedroom watching cartoons. Those Smurfs….”

Who knows what else I prattled about. I wonder if I talked about school or my friends. I wonder if I talked about homework or the piano (Dad was trying to teach me to play). Would I have told him about skinned knees or stubbed toes? Would I (gasp) have sung?

I still pray to the gods about that tape. If they love me at all, the answering machine would have short circuited after my fourth message or so. I pray that each successive message just recorded over the previous. Or maybe – if I’ve been a really good girl – the machine would have lost all of them under that pressure (17! messages!). Maybe (mercifully) the tape was only good for 5 minutes of messages or so. Or maybe Dad was in a particularly unsentimental mood that day and fast forwarded through the last 15.

Oh, and gods, if you’re listening, if you can do anything, please let him have thrown away the tape.


27 January 2009

Breaking News Alert

Which is an inelegant way to begin, but that's how I found out:

My high school will be closing down.
At the end of this school year.

Rick forwarded me the stub of the article from the local paper just an hour or so ago. In an email full of worry that I would feel sad.

And I don't. Not really. Or maybe, not yet.

It's just that high schools feel so permanent. Even after you've graduated they do. You know? They are an edifice of adolescent awkwardness and discovery. They feel like they will last forever. Or, at least, they feel like they will outlast you. And it just seems strange to me that the physical site of those self-doubts, bad poems, dreams of the future, and gushing over boys simply won't be there any more.

In a few years' time, maybe, I will drive by the site where I once went to school and it will be a strip mall. Maybe where I studied french there will be instead a nail parlor. Maybe where I reluctantly *ran* laps during P.E. there will be, one day, a Denny's. Or worse: maybe the whole thing will become a Walmart. (It's sweet of you to insist otherwise, but it's already happened to the site of my first restaurant job.)

This is morose and self-indulgent, I realize. Especially so when I admit that I haven't recognized my school for years anyway. It seems they went on a fundraising spree and completely transformed at least the front of the building. So it's been many years already since I could drive by, point inside one of those small rooms and say, "See that? That's where I took my Art History class. And once, when our teacher was on vacation, we watched Pink Floyd's The Wall. And right at the moment in the strip club -- right as the woman is there, clad only in a g-string, shaking everything she's got for the benefit of the camera -- yeah, that's the moment a visiting student and her mom came in. To behold the greatness of a catholic, all-girl education in action."

(Now do you understand why I am morose? These stories are much less funny when you are pointing in the direction of the garden center at Kmart.)

Anyway, there it goes. High school, that is. And I will be able to witness it. Along with what I imagine will be a string of emails invading my inbox, all imploring me to save the school, like it were Ferris Bueller.

I suppose, if I particularly hated high school, this might be a fun day for me. Like a sort of purification ceremony wherein I set the object of my pain and/or abhorrence on fire. But you know what? I didn't hate it. Not in the slightest, actually. So instead I feel like I am losing a landmark. One of bittersweet importance to the making of me.

I feel like New Hampshire after the demise of the old man of the mountain.

From now on, I will be "old man" free. And suddenly feeling much older myself.

22 January 2009

A List Of New Things

In this spirit of inspiration, of newness and hope, I have come up with my list. Not resolutions, exactly -- more things I want to do this year, new things I have yearned for and never tried. So, why not now?

Here we go, 2009: bright, shiny things we will do together -- in no particular order -- presented in a list format for convenient checking off of items:
  • Make/can pickled veggies
    (carrots or asparagus or green beans will do)
  • Use plants to dye yarn
  • Spin a skein of yarn
  • Knit something up according to whim, not a pattern
  • Commute my 30-mile round trip to work by bike
  • Take pictures with actual film
  • Buy a Holga
  • Nurture seedlings
  • Plant a garden
  • Spend a Tuesday (or several) weeding and potlucking over at
    Soil Born Farms
    (which is exactly the place I’ve dreamed of; if it were in any other city, I’d be jealous. Luckily, it’s here; so I need to haul my ass over there. Often.)
  • Sew a dress
  • Make a quilt
  • Transform old clothes into new clothes
  • Bake bread
  • Bake a pumpkin pie from scratch (including the pumpkin)
  • Have a donut over at Dynamo
  • Make jam
  • Organize the “craft room”
  • Be ok calling said craft room my studio
    (it sounds so important and lofty that way)
  • Call in sick when I am sick, and stay home knitting socks instead
  • Read books (one a week, say)
  • Make my big announcements -- like the reading blog Rick and I started -- in a more proper and ! way than sticking them, anonymously, in a list format
  • Visit Twin Girls Farms
    (they make the Platonic ideal of oranges – so perfect!)
  • Spend an afternoon at the ocean
  • Go somewhere by train
    (alright, I have done this before, but not for a long, long time)

21 January 2009

Starting Now

morning bear

It's a whole new world today.

17 January 2009



on a string





I don't think I could ever get tired of pictures of balloons.

16 January 2009

Be Still My Heart

A nominee for attorney general who believes that waterboarding is, unquestionably, torture?

If I'm dreaming, don't pinch me.

15 January 2009

Making do

butterfly girl_no white

This is not a very good picture.
But it will have to do.
I wanted to take the perfect shot.
So I waited and waited.
For the lighting to be right.
For the timing to be right.
For the camera to be right.
For the film to be right.
Waited for all the factors to coincide.
(Waited and waited.)
Now the sculpture is gone.
And I don’t have the perfect picture.
But this will have to do.
(This, by the way, is not a morality tale.
It is simply my excuse.)

13 January 2009

09 January 2009

Master of Gardeners


Dear Edward VII (the tree),

You are lovely this winter. Lovelier, I think, than I've ever seen you before. Robust. And all decked out in your robe of white flowers.

But I have one question for you -- if I may, if you won't find me too impertinent: are those lemons you're thinking about growing?

I'm thrilled, of course, if you say yes. I just want to be sure I'm getting excited about the right thing, is all.

Do let me know. I'll be awaiting your answer.

Your humble servant,

08 January 2009

Sweet Hearts

I woke up thinking about hearts this morning. Um, the doodled kind -- not the actual.

I have a ridiculous love for them.

And I use the word ridiculous because I am 31 years old. And by now I should have given up doodling little hearts everywhere.

You'd think so, at least.

But I've still got a lot of hearts left in me, it seems.


I had a friend in grade school who used to draw her hearts humps first. You know, with a sideways three:

followed by two straight lines that meet in a V:

I always thought they looked funny with those inevitable hard points at their sides where the parts intersect. (Ah me. Full of such strong aesthetic judgments at such a young age.)

I tended to make my hearts one half at a time:

Clearly 'lumpy' didn't bother me though.

When I was feeling bold, I would make them in a continuous loop, from center point to center point:

Also, because I am a child of the '80s, I made a lot of these:
Note the swell light reflection spot up there.

(And no, no matter how hard I try, I can't see one of these heart ballons without humming a few bars of 99 Luftballoons.)

Now I like the scribble-y kind best:


What about you? What are your doodling memories?

07 January 2009

s t i l l

frozen in time

Still winter.
Still quiet.
Still no computer.

(But in the brief glimpse of the internets I get, I've fallen in love with these snowmen. Oh, I am a sucker for mohawks.)