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Oh, how I do love Lock 50 – tucked away in the Canal District (50 Water Street) with her lovely staff and delicious coffee treats, I have found her equally the perfect spot for a work meetup or a relaxing morning.*

Highlights of this film include:
– Audrey gets KISSED BY A TINY DRAGON!**
– Talking Worcester and Second City politics with longtime resident Bill MacMillan and recent transplant Eirean Bradley***

Enjoy =)

*And I hear that now the café has extended hours in the evening – woot! Also, Lock 50 is indeed a full service (and rather fancy!) restuarant – I have not had the chance to check out the food yet myself, but I keep hearing super good things about it.
**She samples the delicious signature Facebreaker (macchiato with chili peppers!)
***I nearly snorfled coffee out my nose when Eirean said: “I actually kind of view Worcester as the middle sister of New England … Worcester is the one with the tattoos on her knuckles and really bad taste in men..?”
I really wish you could have joined us for this conversation – there was almost 20 minutes of footage by the end, and it was really tough to crunch it all down to just this little bit. But then, editing is painful like giving away puppies, right?

Will Dearest and I share in common the fact that we have family who had a hand in building big things: my granddad put the lights on the Verrazano Bridge in NYC; his dad was part of the group from Boys Trade that built the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel. Both of us are proud of that stuff in the same way that little kids get excited about earth movers and dump trucks – it brings a gleam to the eye and a catch to the breath, and it demands be repeated as part of the fun trivia of our lives when occasion permits. We come to love the stuff that our families have had their hands in, you know? When I first moved up to Worcester, Will made sure that the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel was on the list of places I needed to see.

I wasn’t actually 100% sure that it was a tunnel when we first drove it. I mean, it’s not very big at all; you could miss it if you closed your eyes for a good yawn* – maybe it was an underpass? But, then again, it’s long enough to demand lighting. And it has a name! No one just gives an underpass a name, y’all.

This tunnel has hosted black-tie parties and car burnouts, and once had some business called human bowling happen in there.** Occasionally, after a good hard rain, it hosts an amazing floom-style puddle.*** Good Times.

Anyway – while the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel isn’t my favorite place in the city, it is one of my tiny joys, and I drive it whenever I have the opportunity.**** So of course, while we were downtown last weekend I brought Audrey to check it out =)

 

 

*While riding in the passenger seat, natch.
**I don’t know what that is – I wasn’t working at First Night that year.
***Ok, sometimes it floods out.
****Also, it’s super good for avoiding getting on the highway from downtown while that exit at Lincoln Square is all ripped up with construction.

Mercy! Has it really been 17 days since Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival wrapped? It feels like it was just this last weekend, and I am still absolutely flying from it. We had a spectacular weekend celebrating poetry on film – you can see all the good stuff here (pictures) and here  (the finalists) and here (all the films), if you weren’t able to make it, or if you want to relive it (highly recommended! Omg, so much good work!)

I feel like I came out of this year better than I went into it – it’s been a slammin’ year, y’all.* And I was about a week behind the whole time. And I got super ambitious halfway through when I realized we had a glut of Very Good Submissions, so I decided we needed a second day of showings, but hadn’t really thought about the work that entailed (oops). So what I’m saying is that, whoa – I’m kinda proud of myself for getting it together on time.

But more than that, I’m still awash in all the feels about the the festival itself. In a nutshell, even with a couple of late-presenting snafus, it went off beautifully, and I was thrilled with the shows. But more than that, I was thrilled with the connections that happened.

Friends came from across state and out of state. There were lots of hugs, and people got to reunite and to meet each other – some of them who had learned about each other just online. Makers met makers and talked about the things that makers talk about when you get them together. It was more than I could have hoped for.**

Looking down the barrel of the afterparty,*** I very much expected that when everything was put to bed this year, I would be exhausted. But instead I put it down feeling invigorated, inspired, and excited.

One of the things I do at festival is catch as much footage as I can of people talking about the festival. Mostly it’s because I love a souvenir (and also, it’s for grant apps), and there’s nothing nicer than a moving snapshot, hello. But also, it’s because I am a curious creature who’s generally engaged in some research, and primary sources are the best thing in the world for research purposes. So I asked questions – I asked about process, and about favorites, and about what it’s like to be a judge or a filmmaker, or an audience member. I asked What made you do this? I asked How does it feel on this side of the curtain? I asked What do you think about the short film format? I asked How did you pick your collaborators? And it turns out that I know some super smart people who have super smart answers, and I was bowled over, and humbled, and overjoyed to hear the answers.

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Thing I do best in the whole world:

Sweat

I can sweat with the best of ’em. Without even trying, I sweat like a badass. I get uncomfortably warm when the temp noses above 65, and all bets are off. I found myself in the airconditioned haven of Target the other day, fanning myself for relief and looking longingly into the freezer tubs, thinking, I wonder if they’d throw me out if I hopped in and rolled around in the beef? (I did not hop in.)

So why in all the holy hells did we just buy a treadmill?

One word, friends, one word: Research.

Yes, research. I do this, right? I want to know more about something, so I jump in whole hog and make a concerted effort to get to the bottom of things and understand them. And what I want to know right now is what it feels like to be a person who enjoys exercise.

I’ve never been sporty. Ever. I played field hockey for a semester in the eighth grade because everyone had to play a sport to pass the year, and I hated it. I hated the softball team I was forced to join in the fourth grade. I hated swim club (exercise with the added attraction of the potential to accidentally drown? Exercise while intermittently holding your breath? Are you kidding me?) I’m uncoordinated as fuck, and even my yoga practice (which isn’t really exercise so much as rolling around on the floor for 20 minutes) hasn’t done much to make it better.* I remember getting winded riding my bike as a kid. I even remember Kathy Arsenault in the seventh grade, talking about how she loved her morning run and the muscle definition it gave her, and squinting at her, thinking, Man that sounds terrible. I tried running a couple years ago and I cried through the whole thing.** So what the hell is going on now?

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Charlie Bradbury. Swoon.This is what research looks like for me:

Obsessive hunting down of information (which could take anywhere from hours to months), coupled with a bookmarks list in my Chrome account the length of my arm, coupled with a browser history that brings me the occasional deep and burning shame. And, frequently, an expression plastered on my face that’s somewher between “Oh! Oh, I Had No Idea…” and “What In the Actual Fuck?”

Consequently, my husband & I have an agreement that whoever goes first, the other one will erase their browser history and burn their journals, preferably before family arrives, optimally, before the medical examiner’s big grey van pulls up to the curb.

Because I am a curious fish, and I will Google, really, anything.

I mean, it’s one thing when I want to know about commencement speeches. It’s only mildly embarrassing to admit that sometime in the end of June I will inevitably find myself cleaning closets while sobbing as someone’s YouTube playlist runs on my laptop for three or four hours.*

It’s entirely another thing to not know, and then seach to find out  what the terms “Destiel” and “Wincest” mean. And surely “knot” is just some Aussie slang for the common human penis? (Spoiler: nope. And you can thank me now that I’ve done the research so you don’t have to, because iw.)** For the record, I know now that the descriptor “slash” is not entirely synonymous with “fanfiction.”

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This fucking mess of a day.

Shit breaks – I know shit breaks. I know how to fix, replace, move on. I do this stuff. I get annoyed when it costs money, especially when money is tight. But we need a dryer, so I bought a dryer. The plan was that Will Dearest would pick it up tomorrow.

Only that’s not a great plan anymore, because I picked Will up from work today, the poor thing suddenly down with something terrible that involves vomit. Also, I am terrified of germs that cause vomiting.* Which makes me a dreadful nurse, and then a guilty wife.

Additionally, I am currently afraid of our apartment. Will is curled up in bed, and with any luck, will stop getting up to puke, and get some sleep, and then feel better. I picked up juice for him and set it on the counter. I can’t go in the bedroom. I am worried that if I take a shower, that the steam will turn the bathroom into a giant petri dish. I keep my toothbrush in there, yo. Is it safe to touch the cat that’s been sleeping with him?

So I fled the house to get him some juice. Also the cupboards were bare with after-holiday and all. So groceries – Man Cub and I had at it. And the grocery store was bizarre. They had almost none of the things that we usually get – the whole list had to be refurbed. I’m not sure what ended up in the cart, to be honest, except for the corned beef. I know about the corned beef, because I cannot stop thinking about it. I would not have bought the corned beef if there had been any chicken. And I’ve been wanting corned beef for, like, weeks, but haven’t been able to justify it until now. I cannot wait for WIll to feel better so we can eat corned beef.**

As we pulled into the driveway, Will texted simply this: We’re out of oil.

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My dad’s hi-fi, circa 1973 or ’74

DJO2is tagged me on Facebook for a meme about music – your personal 15, “platters that matter,” and I was all like, Oh, I can do that in my sleep, right? Yeh, um, so, not so much. Turns out that picking out music favorites is even harder than picking out book favorites – because the time reading the books is the time reading the books, but the time spent with a particular album as your life soundtrack could be years – decades, even. And the music colors those moments, and those moments color the music. This exercise was Hard, with a capital H. It took me 3 days to narrow my list, and I’m not sure it’s anything like perfect.

But, here’s my top list today. I reserve to right to change my mind as nostalgia strikes or new stuff is released.

1. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
I just always come back to this one. Rough day, happy day, protracted project, doesn’t matter, I just keep coming back to it. It may have been one of the first albums I remember my dad playing on the hi-fi. And then it came back to me again in the Clinton era when Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow was a campaign win song. And then it came back to me again five years ago for no particular reason and stayed. While working at Higgins last year, I would start the morning with it while I cleaned the gift shop. It comes on the radio and I fall in love all over again. I can spend the whole record singing along, or just listening to production.

2. Cat Stevens – Buddha and the Chocolate Box
My dad’s hi-fi again. And later with the Harold and Maude Soundstrack. Cat Stevens comes on at the grocery store and I can’t help but sing along. It hits me on a physical level – I immediately calm down when this album is on.

3. Patty Griffin – Living With Ghosts
Favorite to sing along to in the car, like whoa. Also, I have a delicious memory of sitting on the couch in Hilary’s living room with her and Matthew, just soaking it all in together. This album is all kinds of roadtrips across Texas and morning coffee. It inspired me to relearn to play guitar after decades away. One of the sweetest gems in my heart box.

4. Soul Coughing – El Oso
I didn’t know about Soul Coughing until a few years after the band broke up, but when I found out about them, I listened to everything I could get my hands on. This one stayed in the car for years (it may still be there, actually), because, as it turns out, it can calm a driving-triggered* anxiety attack for me.

5. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again: this album changed my life. Steve gave me a cassette tape in 1989 with Surfer Rosa on one side and something by Sonic Youth on the other. I listened to Surfer Rosa until the tape snapped, and started playing in my first band, of course with Steve. Read the rest of this entry »

Good morning, Get Shit Done day! I’m low on coffee,* high in spirits, and Windows Movie Maker is rendering at the speed of tar.

I’ve done the dishes and set up some tee shirts to dye that I waxed last week and then forgot about. I’ve handled correspondence and cleaned out my email. Cleaned the desk (which is a Really Good Thing, considering the state it was in**). Found my prescription under the pile & renewed it. Started curating the show for Rabbit Heart  (hence the rendering stuff). Packed up goods for the mail, both for Apple Batiks products and for the film festival. Ok, GO.

This is kinda wonderful, being in this space today, and I’m stupid grateful for it. I spent the last week in a bit of a slump, dealing with pain management and some psychic turmoil that had me feeling caged. But yesterday the pain started to lift (Tuesday was shot day \o/), and I had the car during the day, and I started to feel like I was more in gear – that lasted until dinnertime, when I just wanted a finished meal to spring forth fully formed from my brow like another coming of Athena, and then gave up and made some ramen. And then this morning, I’m more like me again, equipped with a big can of FUCK YEH. I’m totally ok with that. I let a lot of stuff slide last week while I was uncomfortable, and it’s nice to see it get taken care of. Tonight I may even make some rice stuffed tomatoes and we can sit together and eat like a family.

And I’m blessing the timing on this – September has just begin, and that means I’m moving into crunch time. With the film festival right around the corner, there’s a bunch of bits and pieces that I need to take care of before October comes to knock and things get really real – the show curating is my biggest concern, and it feels good to be digging in after a solid month of being freaked out about all the how-tos associated with it. (What order should I show the films? Who’s going to run the computer? Can I make all the films in each category into one uninterrupted film? What software should I use? How do I use said software??) File under T for Things That Would Suck: having a full house (we’re sold out! OMG!), and not having something beautiful to present. Now that I’m in the thick of it, I’m less anxious, which makes the process easier, and I’ve started far enough ahead that I have time for The Process to work out if/when things get hinky. If I can manage this part, then all I have to do is get the trophies in order.

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I cannot believe it’s already a week into August. In a few weeks Our Man Cub will be back to school again, tickets for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival will be on sale, and blessed cooler weather will be back to calm my shit down. And in the meanwhile, I’m pickling. With the air conditioning running.

It starts with the garden patch on the side of the house, where it’s cozy and pleasant. There’s a little wall that separates our property from the apartment complex, and it feels private, even if it really isn’t. I love that garden patch. But it gets iffy sun, and the woman who lived here before us planted day lilies and hosta to accommodate that. Every spring we put in vegetables, and I’ve been experimenting with what will grow there well.

Tomatoes grow, but generally don’t ripen on the vine. Some varieties of melons grow well, sprawling all over and bearing fruit that takes a long time to ripen. Rosemary and oregano love it. Strawberries loooooove it. And the squirrels love the strawberries – we rarely get to eat any, because squirrels get up earlier than we do, as a rule. Pepper plants come up and thrive, but the fruit is small. Zucchini gets us a big plant, and two or three actual zucchinis. Broccoli is a wash – it gets leggy and blooms. Cauliflower seems to be coming up ok, if leggy and smallish.

But cucumbers? Holy carp, cucumbers love the side garden patch. And so every year we put in a few more plants. We plant pickling cukes, because they just taste better to us – Man Cub and I have discovered that we can eat something like our own weight in salted pickling cucumbers. Lately he’s taken to forgoing the salt part and just biting into them in the middle. Last year, in spite of our intentions, we ate all the cucumbers – not a one made it into the pickle jar. So! Good! -urp-

So this year we made a conscious decision to plant enough cucumbers for pickling and eating. We put twenty-odd plants in the ground and let ’em go.

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So occasionally I get panicky about my son, Our Man Cub. It doesn’t happen that often – he’s really got good accountability, and we have a pretty great relationship, so I generally have a clue about things going on with him. Also, we share a desk, so I have at least his side of the conversation to glean the goings on from.* In general, I don’t ask a lot from him aside from chores and school and, you know, being a good member of our household. One of the things I do ask of him is for him to let me know where he is when he’s out and about. When he hangs out with his friends after school, the deal is that he texts his dad to remind him to swing by after work and pick him up. ‘Cos, dinner, natch.

Well, on Friday we got no text. Will Dearest called me to ask if Our Man Cub had come home instead of going to his friend’s place. And then it got wonky.

I mean, my first instinct read that he’d turned his phone off in school and then forgotten to turn it back on. Things happen.** That morphed into the possibility that he had his phone on DND (which I’ve done accidentally), or that his reception was poor. So I decided to call a few times. Ok, four times. Five? Anyway, he didn’t answer. So I decided to text bomb him in hopes that his pocket would eventually buzz.

What wound up happening is that my texts never actually went through – just like the text that he had sent to his dad when he got off the bus with his friend. He did eventually look at his phone and notice that there were five calls from home, and he called me and everything got straightened out. But in the meanwhile, I sent him a bunch of texts, all the while trying to keep it light – because while the rational me was repeating the mantra of, Cell service is poor in parts of town. Cell service is poor in parts of town. Cell service is poor in parts of town, irrational me was screaming something about ditches and bad people and shop accidents and the mothership. Yeh, ok, so that worry from when they’re tiny? Apparently, it doesn’t ever actually go away.

Man Cub eventually did get the text – his pocket went off when he got into the car with his dad. We all had a good giggle – so it turns out I’m funny when I’m nervous, who knew?*** And on Saturday when he went out with friends and kept me posted about where they were, I sent him back a whale with four bars, because he earned it, natch.

I apologize for the lack of a cut on this entry, but the image is just too big. And after wrassling with the screenshots to make them all one, I don’t have it in me to go back and cut the sucker in two. Also, one-bar whales are endangered (I heard it from a good source on teh internets). so I don’t want to accidentally cut one of them in half.

***

*Here’s what I can tell is going on: his friends are nice to hang out with and they are funny more often than not, and they poke good natured fun at each other. College is a priority, and so is co-op. They’re not all boys; there are some smart girls that they hang out with. The Ender Dragon is a big boss in a square world. Also, making sure the balloon is fixed is of utmost priority. Hands Like Houses is playing on Friday, they’ll be taking the bus here after school, and I’m responsible for driving them to the show and picking them up after. That’s what I know today.
**Personally, I’ve lost my phone in the bottom of my handbag with the ringer off for a goodly amount of time. It never rang, so I never went looking for it. At bedtime when I went to set the alarm, I tore the house apart. Eventually I dumped the handbag and it came bouncing out (it’s a good case), and everything was fine. But had it been a Friday night, I might not have found it until Sunday.
***Generally, anxiety just makes me belch. Which is great when it’s social anxiety because I’m meeting someone for the first time. Good. Times.

todays

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