Thursday, February 26, 2009

You know you're getting old when...

So my roommates and I groveled a bit and managed to talk the owner of our apartment into a new refrigerator and stove. Which arrived tonight. Squee! Amaree and I stood around watching the two men install it like a pair of kids watching Santa unload his sack. We were thrilled at the crisp whiteness of a brand spankin' new set of appliances, slightly disappointed at the fact our new 'fridge has no ice-cube maker, and positively squealing about the clean oven window with--WITH!--an actual light. Thank heavens for benevolent landlords. I don't even want to cook on the new stove, it's so shiny.

Now. If we could just figure out a time to get this carpet replaced...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

nothing to say

Don't have anything earth shattering to write about today....just wanted to post this photo. Doesn't Prez. Washington look like he's smiling slightly? Dare we hope in approval?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

dog warts

The things you learn when you get a dog...I noticed yesterday that Kizzy had a kind of massive cold sore inside his mouth. Thanks to the power of the internets, I discovered he most likely had something called "canine papilloma virus" which was causing the bumps. Today we had to go pick up more Advantix, so I took advantage of being at the vets to get a professional opinion. Professional opinion was that the internets are right. Phew.

So Kizzy has dog warts. The good news is they go away on their own and they're not contagious to humans. And then he'll never get them again. So basically he has doggy chicken pox for the next few months. Nothing to worry about. I'm just glad that I have the computer so I can look up info late at night..what did parents do when their babies broke out into odd rashes at odd hours?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where is Nicki?

Hello everyone...I know from talking to some of you that you've, uh, noticed how I haven't updated in awhile. For once, it's not because I haven't had anything going on. Quite the opposite, actually, I've been so busy that I haven't had time to update. Literally. I started writing a post about NYC last Sunday, but after my computer froze--twice--I gave it up and haven't been able to get back to it since. So! If it's all right with my loyal readers, I'll start there.

It was a flyby weekend...I trained up to New York on Saturday, arriving at about nine pm, thanks to a late train causing me to miss my connexion. After about five hours of sleep we were up again and on the train, back into the city. Some of you have met Alison, who is a friend from London...we actually met because I had a picture of Michael Cerveris on my computer. She saw it, said "You like Michael Cerveris?" and I said "You know who that is?" And thus we were friends.

The city was chilly at nine am, the sun not yet fully risen. A block out of Penn Station brought us to the Stage Door Restaurant where we had a wonderfully filling breakfast, cup after cup of coffee, in an atmosphere that was reminiscent of the song "Sunday" from Tick, Tick, BOOM! By the time we were done, the sun had risen and the temperature had gone up at least ten degrees, and the day was beautiful for trekking around the city. Now, Alison and I are diehard Londoners. New nice. But compared to London, there is no comparison. However, we were feeling magnanimous, having tickets to see Michael live and in person, so the city took on a friendly glow. We trotted up to fifth avenue, window shopping along the way--well, except for when I found a pair of shoes at H&M.

Then, Hedda. We were sitting in box seats, so although part of the stage was obscured, we didn't have to lean around other people's heads. The show itself was good. Mary Louise Parker played Hedda, and she was fantastic, a chilly woman who is slowly coming to realise how trapped she is in a marriage she doesn't want, in a situation she didn't sign up for. The show itself felt slightly jerky--a problem of trying to update Ibsen with his exposition-heavy dialogue and archaic three-act format. But it was a good interpretation, with a fresh translation and new insight into the relationship between Hedda and Tesman. Alison and I were very much there for Michael Cerveris, who played Jorgen Tesman, Hedda's husband. We might have been slightly biased, but his portrayal was easily the best of the evening. He was tender, loving, enthusiastic and totally unaware of how his wife truly felt.

After the show we hung out by the stage door, waiting for Michael, surrounded by people who were mostly waiting for Mary Louise Parker. When he appeared he signed a few perfunctory autographs before Alison and I descended. "We actually met," I stammered out, "because I had a photo of you as Hedwig on my computer and Alison said, 'Is that Michael Cerveris?'" At which point Alison cut in, "And she said, 'You know who Michael Cerveris is?'" Michael seemed slightly bemused by our tandem enthusiasm. He scratched his name into my program, asked what I'd been studying in London, didn't really have an answer when I asked him when his next album was coming out, and finally dutifully submitted when I committed the ultimate act of fangirlery:


Then Alison and I went to Sardi's, which is an old-school, post-theatre restaurant where all the big shot producers and stars hang out, trying to get noticed. Remember in the Muppets Take Manhatten when Kermit sneaks into a restaurant with caricatures on the walls? Okay, that's Sardi's. We felt sort of out of our league, but the bartender made us feel at ease with his cheerful banter. Also G&T's that were well worth the New York prices. We then headed to the fabled ANGELO'S PIZZA, which I first sampled in 2000 when I was in NYC as part of the choir trip. The restaurant was not where I remembered it--apparently they've opened a new location--but the pizza was just as good as I recalled. We had proscuitto and sun-dried tomatoes on our pie, and it disappeared completely.

And then a nine o'clock train back to Schenectady. Naturally we had to dissect the entire show several times over ("What was your favourite part?" "The part where he touched me.") and giggle about spending a day in New York City. We had a good time. Twelve hours was just about right.

And then home on Monday...a week ago I was just sliding thankfully into bed after spending what felt like sixty percent of the past three days on a train. I still feel that way, although I've done my best to catch up on sleep. And to catch up here, obviously. I will try to stay more current...but be assured if I disappear for a few days, it means things are good, busy and happy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

screw you bad news, I'm off to the theatre

The tides wash in and they wash out. Living on a peninsula, I'm very aware of the motion of the seas. Far enough away where I don't see them daily, but they pulse and thrust around me. They affect my life. Bridges, tunnels, ships, ferries, wharves, jetties, docks. Beaches. Things change. The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.

Is it possible to become tolerant of bad news? Like living in a war zone, is it possible to stop noticing when the shells are raining down? So much bad news on every side that even I am avoiding the paper, the radio, but when things do come through, I can't even get very upset about it anymore. A WWII veteran frozen to death after the electric company shut off his heat due to an overdue bill. A woman going back into the Army because they'll provide healthcare for her premature son who has serious physical disabilities. People standing in line for hours to apply for part-time jobs. Soldiers back from Iraq who are committing suicide because they're not getting the help for PTSD that they need. I see all these things, and I worry. And my worrying parts get worn down, until I just can't do it anymore. It's not that I don't care. But if I cared any more, I'd go mad.

Kizzy is curled up next to me in the bed. He is sleeping the sleep of the exhausted because he spent all day at playcare chasing other dogs around. I should be so lucky--I'll probably take a sleeping pill to ensure I get a good night's sleep. It's nearly midnight. I need to get up in six and a half hours.

The world is sleeping. My favourite time of day. Just me up now, writing, thinking. The world is turning. The sunrise is getting nearer. I wish I could stop for a moment--not for me, but for all the other people out there who are hurting. Just a few more hours of sleep, a few more dreamless hours when you don't have to worry about bills or mortgages or...or anything, really. How funny is it--me, with my degree, with my dreams of a tenure-track career, here I am weathering the storm at my hourly job. Barely weathering, mind you, but we're doing okay. And the tides wash in, the tides wash out.

Next summer, when it's warm, Kizzy and I will spend our Sundays on the beach, enjoying the ocean and the sun. We'll absorb saltwater and avoid jellyfish and eat ice-cream, if we can afford it that week. I'll get a chart of the tides, to make sure that we're not going at a time when the waterline is low, the sand is long. Maybe by that point there will be good news on the radio again, there will be positive signposts to give people hope. Not everything the way it was. Not good times here again. Things change. But movement in a stable direction.

In the meantime.

I am going to New York City this weekend with an auld friend from London to see Michael Cerveris in Hedda Gabbler. I'll be back Monday night. I'm sorry to leave with such a downer post, but I wanted to write something before I left. And I'm just tired. Good, but tired. It's been a long week. I'm so looking forward to just taking off and enjoying myself. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Heralds of Spring

Last Friday we were sitting in the shop, happily stitching away our last hours when our intern, Emily, perked up her ears and said, "Is that a train?" "No," I trilled happily, "that's the Fife & Drum Corps!"

Which can only mean one thing: spring is on it's way! I know it's only the second week of February, but in Virginia, that is like the end of April, Wisconsin-time. The Fife and Drum Corps will start their programming up again in March, so now is the time to practise. Yay, spring. Warmer weather, more humidity and militia! Which means breeches and money. Huzzah. Two things I like very much.

I spent Saturday in Smithfield, exploring a corner of Virginia with a new friend. Smithfield is a preserved historical town, full of Victorian "painted ladies" that are covered in gingerbread and latticework. Unlike Colonial Williamsburg, the houses are still privately owned, but the city requires the owners to keep them up to the original standards. A nice way, I think, of keeping the feeling of the city without having to put all the expense on a single foundation. After lunch (although Smithfield is known for its ham, I had a turkey sandwich on sourdough and the best damme German chocolate cake evar) we wandered through an antique store that featured period shirts and shifts with period sewing, which resulted in major geekery--no, no, that's actually a backstitch, not a machine stitch. Wow. Then through an art gallery featuring historical artwork (including a cheeky portrait of Thos. Jefferson) and finally home to dinner on the James River.

I took the ferry back to Williamsburg, over the James, and saw the second sign of spring: the Harley riders. Hordes of leather clad bikers, out for a spin in the upper-sixty degree weather. On the ship they were gathered together, comparing notes and talking shop before driving off on their solo ways again: at least sixty bikes, all of them polished so bright it was hard to look at them. Kizzy hesitantly sniffed a tire, and I made it very clear to him that these machines were not to receive his special blessing. Standing up, I caught a biker grinning at me: "What can I say?" I grinned weakly, "he's got good taste."

All in all, this was one of the most relaxing weekends I've spent in Virginia, just lazing around, no need to be anywhere on time. It reminded me of driving to Point at the end of August: the stress of summer jobs over with, the stress of classes not set in yet. The lack of AC compensated for by open windows, the open windows compensated for by a blaring radio, the smell of dried hay and dust getting caught in my hair. Virginia is beautiful. Life is good.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Just one thing.

I just want to say this, and then I'll get off my soapbox: I am really bloody tired of people referring to the $50 million earmarked in the current stimulus bill to go to the National Endowment for the Arts as "pork spending."

Attention people in Washington: THIS IS NOT PORK. You can either pay people to do their work and have a vibrant, thriving cultural America, or you can have a bunch of out of work, depressed artists on welfare. Your choice.

I haven't read the fine print on this bill, but the GOP must really be scratching at the bottom of the barrel if that is one of the programs they come up with as "pork." Oh, that and money for Planned Parenthood, which will of course immediately go to terminating pregnancies left and right and nevermind about preventing unwanted babies. Because women who are unable to afford daycare and so unable to go to work and therefore on welfare are a much better solution than handing out condoms.

Okay, I'm done. I'm just saying. I don't particularly like the idea of a stimulus package, but hey, isn't this why we all signed the "contract" with our government, so they could take care of us in our time of need? I don't want much--me, I'm okay with what I've got. There are a lot of people out there who are a lot worse off than me, who desperately need a little more cash on hand. I just want enough to be able to buy hair dye and maybe go out for sushi. Yeah. If this bill passes, I guess I'll get something. If it's another $300, I'm spending it on a plane ticket to come home to You.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Oh man. Have you heard about this? Apparently an American company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, has discovered the wreck of the HMS Victory--not Nelson's Victory, which is currently dry docked at Portsmouth--but it's predecessor, which was laid down in 1737 and sank in a storm in 1744. Heh, I said "laid down" like I knew what I was talking about.

Apparently they haven't brought any artifacts to the surface other than a pair of cannons, but there are rumors that there might be up to a billion dollars worth of gold coins down there. The British government technically has jurisdiction, since it is a military wreck, but I'm more interested in what else might be down there, anyway. Just think of all the artifacts that survived from the Mary Rose wreck--and that was in 1545!

It's just so damme exciting! I mean, I love ships, and a sunken ship like this is just like a big time capsule. There is no telling what might be down there. I hope that they're able to bring up lots of things, and maybe even raise the hulk in the future. According to the BBC website, there will be a Discovery channel documentary airing on the eighth...I'm going to try to catch it. Oh, it's exciting. I've been humming "Hearts of Oak" all day.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

lower case

so i'm sitting here, enjoying the superbowl. kizzy is sleeping on my lap. hes not exactly a lapdog, but i dont mind. yeah my legs are numb and i only have one hand free to type with but, its ok. i have my computer here and the remote. my only regret is not grabbing a beer b4 i settled in. sigh.

go steelers!!!