Sunday, May 24, 2009

I ought to be working right now...

I'm making muffins for breakfast, before I go to church. Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Last night I was storytelling. I was so tired that it was difficult to focus on the words--instead I found myself constantly on autopilot, which is not good. During one of my stories a face floated through my head and for the next five minutes I was trying to remember where I knew her from. I could see her sitting down in front of a cup of tea, laughing...then I remembered. Luckily, I didn't shout "Eureka!" in the middle of my story, as that would have been inappropriate. For some reason my tired brain had conjured up one of my dorm-mates from London, another woman who was living in my floor, but one I wasn't particularly close to. British. Friendly. Down to Earth. Had a boyfriend in Wales, if I remember correctly. After the story was over I was sitting "backstage", indulging in the minutiae of that Brockley kitchen. The two tiny refrigerators that were always overfull and full of food that no one could get at. Ditto the tiny cupboards with the towels hanging through the handles. The kettle, of course, and the crappy stoves with their crappy electric hobs. Only one hob really worked, so that one got worked all the time...and eventually stopped working so well. The basil plant I tried to keep alive. Then I moved on to grocery shopping, thinking about the Sainsbury's down in the Lewisham shopping center. Only buying what I could carry in my one great big blaze orange Sainsbury's bag. The little boxes of crushed and split tomatoes with olives or peppers inside. The sandwich spreads that were so much better than American ham spread. Never buying ice cream because it would melt on the bus. Or, for that matter, anything that involved preparation beyond my one pot and pan. Baking? Forget it. When I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, I bought a chicken simply because it came with its own pan, and I had to ask my invited guests to bring their own plates. Most of us only had one.

I don't know why I got sucked into thinking about that. Perhaps its because Alison--who I met in that very kitchen--just got back from London, and graciously bought me an "I (heart) London" t-shirt (which I asked for) and a flapjack (which I did not.) Oh, God, I love flapjacks. Of all the foody items I miss the most, flapjacks are at the top of my list. I haven't eaten it yet, but I'm sure once I do I'll be overcome with memories, because I used to eat those things all the damm time. On the underground, walking to class, walking to rehearsal, in rehearsal, in class, late at night coming home from the bars... Oh my.

Then there's my bag. If you've seen me outside or taken a picture of me in a place that requires a purse, you've seen my cream-coloured messenger bag, bought the day I went down to Portsmouth to drool over the Victory. A few days ago it went into the trash. I can darn and patch with the best of them, but if the very integrity of the fabric is wearing away, there's no hope. I bought a new bag, which is almost exactly like this one, except it's green, plastic, and not from Portsmouth. Also I had to take off my Nelson button--the one showing a seventeen year old Lieutenant beating a polar bear to death with a rifle and that's why they're going extinct--and I realised just how dented up and rusty this stupid thing is. It really is the oddest thing to make a button out of, which is why I bought it, but now it's...well, I guess the moment's passed.

I live in Virginia now. I drink sweet tea and I smile whenever I smell honeysuckle (which is all the time these days). I'm relieved that our apartment has emptied itself of college-age students (including one of my roommates) because they are noisy and annoying. I'm a lot happier and a lot more content, and I have a boyfriend and a dog, which are two of the things on my List, so well done for me. And when my boss teases me and asks when I'm going back to London, I just shrug and say--"well, London will always be there."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Let the waters roar, Jack...

It's been raining all day, which is normally a lovely way to spend a Sunday inside (especially when the beagle is exhausted from a week's worth of playcare, exuberant babysitting and general being outside-ness), but this morning I volunteered to show up at CW for a militia program. It's hard to shoot a gun in the rain. Not only because your powder gets wet and you misfire, but because those Besses get really slippery in the rain. I think I did okay though--at least as far as my detail was concerned--I remembered all the manouvres correctly this time.

My roommate showed me this video from The Onion a few days ago--a spoof of "living history" museums where people dress up and try to re-enact certain time periods. Like CW. I love this video, because it's spot on...sometimes we have to remind ourselves not to take our jobs so seriously.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ever the Optimist

Our apartment is a cave. Seriously. Cool, even in the heat of summer--if it wasn't for the humidity, we'd leave the AC permanently set to "off." Great for the electricity bill, not so great for those who have a yen to garden. As both I and my roommate do.

But hope springs eternal. Nearly a month ago I went to Big Lots and bought some pots, a trowel, and a few "gardeny" things like a little angel sculpture and a solar-powered garden light, as well as forty pounds of potting soil. Which rode around in the trunk of my car for a month. Then yesterday I stopped a Loewe's and bought some plants. I was excited about finally being able to buy whatever plants I wanted, but sad too, because springtime plant-shopping is something mom and I have always done together. And it's hard to sneak plants into your own cart. Also, as I've mentioned, we live in a cave--even our porch is cavelike--so I tried to restrict myself to the shady plants. Meaning, impatiens and begonias. Oh, and one splurge--a hanging fuschia, which is one of my favourites. I had to buy a shepherd's hook for it, so crowded is our porch already with Amaree's geraniums and pansies. She's more optimistic than I am. Although I couldn't resist just one tomato plant. And a stevia plant. Stevia is a sweet, sweet herb you can use in the place of sugar. Should this one take off, I'm going to put it in my tea and on my cereal.

Tonight, finally, I got everything planted. Well, almost everything--I managed to get too many plants, imagine. Some things never change. Guess it's back to the dollar store for more pots. My impatiens sit encircling a spike, my begonias are tucked cozily into a medium-sized pot, and my tomato is buried up to its neck in a giant planter, sitting in the sunniest place on the porch. Although, I didn't quite have the heart to buy a cage for it yet. Hope may spring eternal, but I think I'll wait and see if this plant will thrive before I invest in any more gardening equipment.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Where was I? What was I doing? Oh, right.

Hello loyal (and patient) readers. Evening programs have picked back up again in a big way, so I've been storytelling for the past three nights. I should have been in bed an hour ago, but the novelty of having nothing to do is so novel I'm sitting up enjoying it. In addition, militia has started marching, but only on Fridays. And the fact that I was working all day and all night would not deter me from throwing on my breeches and heading out for the review. I only screwed up once, when I shouldered my musket before the command, prompting my searjeant to say, "Put that firearm down! Wait for the order! Stop thinking!" Elicting titters of laughter from the crowd.

Auntie Erin and Auntie Nicole brought Kizfiz to the review, but he decided he didn't want to come any closer after hearing the cannon go off. He was shaking pretty badly when I saw him afterward, but he cheered up pretty quickly and very nearly almost caught a squirrel. He had the tail in his mouth and everything. Granted, it was one of the complacent fat CW squirrels, but then again he was leashed to Auntie Erin.

Somehow I managed to get through five tellings of my story tonight. I was afraid I'd have no energy left for the last group, but apparently I did. The last few lines of the story (where I'm exhorting them to get thee gone posthaste) were so effective that the kids jumped up and ran out of the room. Prompting me to laugh silently at their terror. Middle-school kids are so funny...they come in all cocky, sure that they'll never be scared by anything, but once you start telling stories about the actual place where you're sitting...well, pretty soon they shut up and start listening.

Life is good. Busy, but good.