Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
They have four separate screens these days. It's a pretty safe bet Vin Diesel, Miley Cyrus, or some other action star or tween sensation is starring in three of the four. But every so often a movie pops up that's probably been on your list for a while. We caught Michael Clayton there last weekend, and now that the Oscars are over, a slew of those contenders are likely to appear minutes before they head to DVD (a good thing, because we missed most of them).
Thursday, February 21, 2008
The irony of a group of mostly white folks--who only skeletally understand gang culture and its attendant symbols--coming together to strategize how to reduce crime in our neighborhood, wasn't lost on any of us. But we persevere, buoyed by just getting to know each other, or learning there are folks behind the scenes working on everyone's behalf, including those kids who might rather just be playing basketball--if only there was a godforsaken hoop nearby.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I guess I can justify this post by saying that Ben-Ner, too, seems to be negotiating what it means to be home--although while I'm constantly working toward fixing and stabilizing my space, trying to turn it into a reliable haven and highly functioning machine, he's disrupting and reinventing his, defamiliarizing it, dressing it up in a new and disarming costume. I can barely even stand to vaccuum my house, much less turn it into a whaling ship.
Anyway, I've been trawling the internet today with all the giddiness of a high school girl, driving repeatedly past the house of her latest crush. If you're more internet savvy than I am and can find a full-length version of Stealing Beauty or The Wild Boy, you can thank me later. Just be sure to send me the link.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Between the lines is a theory that sits nicely with me: simple folk remedies should hold us steady for a while. A little water down the basement drain and catch basin, and we'll be fine for the short term. As he put it, "I'm only here to tell you the truth. My family's been in this business since the 1800s, but you don't have to believe me." Then, after a pause, "We're really not looking for work."
He explained that what we might eventually want to do is exactly what's depicted on this drawing. This sketch, no joke, is a feat of engineering. It shows an intricate before-and-after plan, whereby our kitchen stack would be rerouted from the catch basin to the soil stack, where everything would feed into the city plumbing system instead of the small reservoir under our back stairs. I know, I know, tedious stuff. But it actually made perfect sense to John, which only proves the secret language of the handy.
Our plumber answered no question simply. He explained the art and science of pipes and drainage, because it was important, to him, that we understood the mechanics. He was worried about our hot-water-heater, suggesting we light a match near one of the metal hinges next time someone is taking a shower, just to see whether gas is escaping. Then quick as he'd come in, he was out the door.
"Wait," I said. "What do we owe you for the visit?"
"Nothing, nothing," he said, and our storm door slammed behind him as he bounded down the stairs in his giant, unlaced rubber boots.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
This particular Flat Stanley has come to us in Chicago, which presents us with the challenge of making our lives a story -- of figuring out what could possibly be worthy of documentation.
So far we've taken him to the Mexican grocery store; to my sourdough lesson over the weekend; onto the el, where he was fortunate enough to get a seat; and most recently, to the voting booth for the Illinois primary, where some cajoling on my part got his photo taken with a blank ballot.
Can't say I was altogether thrilled with the election results, but I also can't say I was as informed as I'd hoped to be, especially with respect to the local races. This is a call to action for me between now and November, when I hope to vote with a stronger degree of both conviction and lucidity.
Next up for Stanley, though, is bicycling to the Polish district about a half-mile north, where I fully expect to come home with some kruschiki and homemade kielbasa, and maybe some Polish candy to send back as a souvenir.
Monday, February 4, 2008
If not, I guess I can turn to the sentiment left by one of our neighbors after last night's snowstorm. John looked out the window before coming to bed, and someone had done us the kindness of a late-night dig. He or she had also, however, carved "JESUS LUVS US" into the snow. I wish John had gotten a photo, but he was apparently too busy sweeping away the evidence.
Friday, February 1, 2008
There's something pretty majestic about getting up before dawn and heading out to shovel, yet again, after the snow has continued to fall through the night. And there are your morning comrades, sporadically working their shovels up and down the block: some in silence, some shouting greetings to each other in Spanish, and some, like our neighbor two houses down, just getting home after the night shift and taking care of business before heading to bed.