Tuesday, July 31, 2007

michelangelo antonioni died yesterday

new york times obituary.

antonioni was one of the greatest directors ever. his works are classics--"blow up," "l'avventura," "il grido," among many others. if you haven't seen any of his movies, i recommend "l'avventura" as a starting point--if you can tolerate almost no action, little dialogue and incredibly long shots paused on one character (usually monica vitti), you will love his work. most of his films deal with emotional lacunae in adult relationships; the endings of "l'avventura" and "l'eclisse" are particularly brilliant in that respect. tonight i will be watching one of my all-time favorite movies, "l'eclisse," with a giant glass of barolo in his honor. he lived to be 94 years old, and in rome no less--what a wonderful combination of facts!

Monday, July 30, 2007

assault on the backyard, day 22

we have a driveway running through our backyard!

i feel like a broken record...the yard is a mess, one of the septic pits still exists, dead plants abound, and i am really, really, tired of this...blah blah blah. you'd think at some point these guys would want to finish so they could get paid, if nothing else!

so, i'll concentrate on something different: gus starts school in less than three weeks! daddo sent a large box from l.l. bean that was filled to the brim with all kinds of back-to-school goodies. gus has a new backpack with light-up wheels AND a gecko AND his name embroidered on it as well as a new turbo lunchbox with his name on it. awesome. his clothes are cool, too, mainly because he is so large that he fits into clothes designed for a middle schooler. he will be a big stud this year, as always. he even has a mighty pair of bean boots in case it ever rains again (actually, it did this afternoon). i think he's ready to get back to school.

there was an interesting article (well, interesting to me) in the sunday new york times that made me wistful for my career again, although i know i can't do a thing about it. it was in the arts section and it was about how right now there are like 24 museum director positions available at many high-powered museums across the united states and how nobody seems to want these jobs. they require a ph.d. in art history, preferably an m.b.a., good business sense and great social skills. i have three out of four! i think i'm feeling a little house-bound presently. if anyone hears of a good part-time curatorial position within about a 25 mile radius of my house, let me know.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

assault on the backyard, day 16

the poor blind owl looks on, helplessly, at the destruction of his charges (the grapevines)

today is day 15 of a job that was estimated to take "three, maybe four days tops." they are not finished and i am getting really sick of this. at least they finally let me mow my lawn this weekend, so that was a plus. the reason i couldn't mow before was because they had spray painted markers for the sewer, septic and greywater lines, but i found that even when you mow you can still see them somewhat...let's hope that doesn't last long either. the sewer guys hit another sprinkler line but they did fix the one that the mole men broke two weeks ago, so the collateral damage count is still even (they were unable to fix the newly-broken one). this has been such a joy! is city sewer really worth having if you have to go through all this? i'm starting to suspect that there must be someone, somewhere, beyond the mole men and the sewer guys, who is/are getting very, very rich from this ordinance or decree or whatever the hell it was that made us have to do this.

to avoid reality, and thanks to two really well-timed bouts of insomnia, i finished book seven of the harry potter series. yes it was awesome, yes everyone should read it (provided you have read the previous six and not just watched the movies), and no i won't tell you what happens. and, i think i am going to start the entire series over again from the beginning--it really was a very satisfying series. gus is about a quarter of the way through book four--his new goal is to finish book four, watch the DVD of book four (that is our deal--if he reads the book he gets to see the movie), then blast through book five and go to the theatre to see the movie of it. i'm not so sure the movie is appropriate for a seven year old; i saw it about a week ago and i think some of the depictions of cruelty might not sit very well with him. i think i'll wait and see how long it takes him to get through book four before i start worrying about it, though.

site of violence no. 1

site of violence no. 2 (actually, this is the scariest picture i have ever shot of the house--you can really see how one end of the house has sunk a bit over the years!)

the guts of no. 1

the guts of no. 2

Monday, July 23, 2007

more pictures from the harry potter release party

prof. trelawney (valerie), tonks (juliet) and dumbledore (dumbledoug)

a really bad picture of moaning myrtle but click to enlarge and CHECK OUT GUS' WAND--how freaky is that?

thanks, valerie, for emailing me the pictures!

and, more pictures compliments of bookworks:

costume contest winners!

gus is just plain scary in character

i love mad eye moody checking out gus!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

big, bigger, biggest night for gus (yet)!

is that draco malfoy?

on friday night, gus and i went to the harry potter 7 release party at bookworks, which was a busy, noisy, fabulous event. gus went as draco malfoy and i went as a less-convincing moaning myrtle (and, yes, those are my real glasses). the place was packed (like maybe 400-500 people over the course of 3 hours) with harry potters and weasleys and hermiones--only one other malfoy, a girl, and no other moaning myrtles--but gus absolutely stole the show as draco malfoy. first, right after we got there, he was interviewed by channel 13 and was on the 10:00 news with the caption "gus really likes harry potter." then, he (and five others) won the costume contest. then, after being sorted into slytherin house (of course) by the sorting hat, slytherin won the cup. THEN, he won an overall costume/most convincing character prize and was given dumbledore's wand! at 12:01 we got our copy of "harry potter and the deathly hallows," and then walked home to tell rich about everything he had missed by being responsible and babysitting a sleeping sophie.

the event was amazing. gus was fantastic--he got into the malfoy character and truly stuck with it for the rest of the night. it was totally gus' night--he had such a great experience and is now all fired up to finish reading books 4, 5 and 6 so he can get to book 7. the whole night made a huge, positive impression on him, which i hope sticks with him for a while. the one thing that is bugging me about it all is that i didn't bring my camera! i need to go beg bookworks for pictures.

i think star wars may finally be supplanted...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

happy trails cindy and cole (and jeff, rory and atticus)!

gus and cole last march

our friends, cindy and cole, are moving to new orleans tomorrow. jeff is going to practice pediatric oncology at tulane; cindy is going to continue her vioxx litigation work. the boys will be starting in the mandeville public school system in the fall--a huge new adventure for a family that has never lived in the south! they are brave, indeed. we will miss them dearly but hopefully will be able to visit them soon (and celebrate by making a pilgrimmage to cafe du monde).

my favorite memory of them is from about nine months ago, right after school started for gus. since we were a new family, they were assigned to our us (by the school) to help us along, tell us what all we needed to do as the year went on, etc. about a month after classes started, gus came home with five dollars in his backpack and i was like, "where did this come from?" and he said that cole had hired him.
"to do what?"
"to dig a hole."
"to dig a hole?"
"yeah, in the sandy part of the playground. cole hired me and jeremy to dig a hole. we can stand up in it now and our heads are almost covered. cole is going to give me another five dollars tomorrow for finishing this one area."

while i was proud of gus for getting a job at the ripe age of six, i was a little worried about the source of cole's largesse and i thought his mom might want to know he was outsourcing his desire for a hole. so, i called cindy, who was mortified that cole had contracted classmates to dig a hole (she was asking, "what about benefits? what if gus gets hurt on the job?--that attorney mind never shuts off completely), and she put an end to it all. i tried to give the money back but she decided that gus had rightfully earned the money and that cole should pay him as contracted. and that is my favorite memory of cindy and cole.

we will miss you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

i'm so freakin' proud!

what me eat a salad?

after a serious bout of bad mom and forgetting to feed my kids lunch, i headed out to carl's jr/hardee's to get gus and sophie lunch (fast food--another case of bad mom-ness). we went inside and lo and behold, what should happen once we got there? gus ordered a SALAD for lunch!!! i was so proud i almost cried. i ordered one, too (their chicken chipotle salad is actually quite tasty), got sophie a tiny cheeseburger (bad mom, again, i know) and we sat and had lunch together. and gus actually ate about half of the salad (all the chicken, some lettuce, and he figured out that taco shell bowls are edible so most of that, too) then finished sophie's cheeseburger for her.

i'm so clever...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

assault on the backyard, days five through ?

this picture has absolutely no relevance to this post--i just like seeing the gaido's crab being so lovingly cared for. this was in preparation for hurricane rita (the one soon after katrina) two years ago.

in the past week, exactly one hour of work has been done by the sewer guys on my yard, so not too much collateral damage, or progress, or anything. and, one of gus' best friends almost fell into one of the septic tank pits in the backyard yesterday, which scared the hell out of me. it is time to make some angry phone calls! i figure my karma ratio is on the high side today because i signed up for PNM sky blue--90% of our power is now coming from wind energy rather than coal, and, to quote miss martha, that is a good thing. until we can afford the massive array of photovoltaics that we intend to install on the roof, we will have to content ourselves with this. and, when we do get the PV panels, we will then sell energy back to PNM and stick it to the man.

my post at duke city fix turned out to be a good one--21 comments (including a couple of my own)! see the final version here.

what's up with y'all?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

assault on the backyard, days three and four

worn out sophie with one sock

well, no assaults yesterday or today because no one showed up to work on my sewer connection. however the back gate did fall down and go boom in the middle of the night last night, so i guess that is our collateral damage report for the day.

i wrote a blog on duke city fix today, which is a site that should be required reading for all albuquerqueans. i'm still on my green kick so feel free to ignore it if you find that topic annoying. i had a great birthday yesterday! lots of phone calls, a wonderful breakfast of dunkin' donuts' munchkins with sophie and gus, and then a fantastic lunch at flying star with my best girlfriend (sophie, again). rich came home late but brought dinner from pei wei so he was forgiven. thank you so much to everyone who sent me birthday greetings in all forms!

happy anniversary mom and dad!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

assault on the backyard, day two AND happy 100th post!

our yard isn't exactly looking its best at the moment

this is officially my 100th post since i started this blog--yay me! two of them are still in the draft stage, but the other 98 have been published. i'm having fun with it so that gives it value in and of itself. it is nice to go through the posts and see pictures of the kiddos (if nothing else).

the borer guys (a.k.a. the mole men) are finished. we now have a subterranean tunnel that will soon accomodate city-of-albuquerque-approved pipe. and they did bore directly under our biggest cottonwood, which will hopefully survive. now i play host to a collection of plumbers, EPA suits and a city representative or two. collateral damage tally for day two: yard, back gate, two pyrocantha bushes, one fruiting grapevine, and our decorative rocks that have now been painted safety orange. and the sprinkler system still hasn't been fixed...

on a much happier note, my birthday is a palindrome this year! 7-11-7--how cool is that?

ugly pit in our corral--there was a grapevine nearby that is now part of the collateral damage list

damian, the lead mole man

broken gate and destroyed pyrocantha bushes (not pictured--this is too depressing!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

assault on the backyard, day one

overall, this isn't as bad as i thought it would be. but it is only day one.

the allens are finally entering the late 19th century and getting city sewer, and the ghost of baron haussmann smiles. we are paying thousands of dollars--because the EPA demanded we do so, not by choice--to rip out our perfectly-functioning septic systems (two of them) and replace them with what will hopefully also be perfectly-functioning city sewer lines. i did manage to salvage our greywater system for the time being, provided the guys boring a 125 foot long hole six feet below ground don't "accidentally" hit it in the name of progress. we chose to bore rather than trench (which all our neighbors seem to have done, with really unattractive results) because we are desperately trying to save our 60-80 year old cottonwoods. and, of course, the first thing the borer guy told me when he got here yesterday was that he had to bore directly underneath the oldest, largest, and most vulnerable one to reach the city connection. hopefully he won't kill it--even if he does, we won't even know it for a couple of years. it would completely alter our yard so much if they harm these trees. bastards. we don't even live in the city of albuquerque--we are in a separate village with our own municipality--so how can we be forced to do this? and, to add insult to injury (and very much like the transformer debacle), we have to pay an additional $1800 to get a city water account! right now i am sitting at my desk watching some unknown man do extreme violence to our fruiting grapevines...

tally of collateral damage from day one (yesterday): cut one main sprinkler line, which flooded their freshly dug 6 foot by 8 foot hole, that they claim they are going to repair before they leave. i turned the sprinklers on them this morning to gently remind them.

Monday, July 9, 2007

does this look normal to you?

i'm thinking....no. rich did this while building the treehouse--he fell off an 8 foot ladder, bounced off the ground and is still finding injuries from the fall. it is one ugly bruise, but the treehouse platform is performing beautifully (so it was worth it)! i think it's getting better.

yuck and ouch!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

rich proves, yet again, that he is the coolest dad ever

rich and i have been married for quite a while and we know each other so well that very little ever surprises us about the other. but i have to admit that yesterday i was totally astounded by him.

he planned, and built, a 10 foot high treehouse for gus in one day.

i have such great expectations of rich, anyway--because that is just who he is--but this came completely out of left field. gus had been telling me for about a week that "dad and i are going to build a treehouse," and i was less than enthusiastic because i didn't really think rich could do it. i mean, this is a man who actually prefers to hire someone, ANYONE, to come and work on the house/yard/cars because he just really dislikes the tasks so much. and the only other thing i have ever seen him build is a center support for our bed, which involved hammering about 8 pieces of pre-cut wood together. i think he made a shelf once, too. i did make gus a flag for this alleged treehouse (although now that i look at it it kinda looks like the former soviet union hammer and sickle motif--where did that come from?), but truthfully i was actually starting to get mad at rich for encouraging gus' hopes of a treehouse.

i also kinda thought gus was making it up to some extent--not that gus was lying, because that isn't like him, but that it was really wishful thinking like when he tells me he is going to be shaquille o'neal when he grows up (i'm not discouraging that or any dream, and gus is quite tall). i just thought it was about as unlikely for him to have a treehouse built by rich as it would be for him to grow into a 7 foot tall african-american superstar with awe-inspiring basketball skills and a sheriff's badge. and i can't help but wonder now what else rich can do that he has been hiding from me all these years--maybe rich built it just to spite me because i didn't think he could? no, he made it for gus. and gus is a very, very lucky little boy, as rich is, undoubtedly, the best dad ever.

rich working hard

gus helped a lot, too

sophie, entranced by a dried leaf, is oblivious to the wonderment of construction going on behind her

gus even caught a lizard while they were working!

(it got away)

what are they doing back there?

gus gets on his treehouse for the first time

this is the entrance (it is definitely kid-sized--rich and i barely fit through this!)

gus, on his platform in the sky

i am MIGHTY!