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Friday May 30, 2008

Reviving my inner twenty-four-year-old


It’s just past midnight and I’ve just gotten home from a Frightened Rabbit concert at the Double Door. This is remarkable since my rate of concert-going is only slightly higher than my rate of Ouzo-drinking, which is to say, just frequent enough to remind me why I don’t do it. I’m an old man; the effect that standing for hours in a crowded, obscenely loud club has on me is, sadly, hilariously, to put me to sleep. But this band earned points due to the singer’s lovely Scottish brogue, and I had a free night, and Sarah needed some time alone to practice her Karting.

Before I left, considering this was to be my first visit to a club in a while, I thought it’d be best to lay out some ground rules.

Me: “I think it’d be best to lay out some ground rules. How many strange women am I allowed to flirt with?”

Sarah: (Thinking) “Two.”

Me: “And how many can I make out with?”

Sarah: “One.”

Me: “Wha-?! Can I have that in writing?”

Sarah: “Nope!”

Me: “Can you call Scott and repeat it to him?”

Sarah: “No way. And if you claim I said it, I’ll deny everything.”

Me: (Eyes narrowed, looking deep into Sarah’s) “... I don’t think you were being serious.”

Sarah: “Well done. Have a good time!”

Not that she has anything to worry about. Sarah knows there’s only one kind of person who’d allow me to flirt with her — a special blend of suburban-Jewish-storyteller’s daughter-teacher girl — and I’m quite pleased with the one I’ve got.

Thursday May 29, 2008

Small victories

Here are some things I’m really enjoying right now:

What do these things have in common? I’m not really terribly good at any of them. I’m not bad at them. I’m just really rough around the edges. I get lots of words in Scramble, but miss tons of really obvious ones (oh, you mean you can put an S on the end and make another word? seriously?). I’m not bad at solid ground road races, but give Baby Peach a cliff/bridge/wall/platform to fall off of, and I’ll spend the race repeatedly plunging her off. And I totally made a sample mock-up of the top, but one of the sleeves is on backwards and inside out.

I certainly don’t love all things that I’m not too good at. Several years ago I played El Grande one time, was terrible at it, and vowed never to play it again. I refuse to play Werewolf. So I’m trying to figure out what separates the pastimes I’ll persevere in versus those I drop immediately.

I think the key is that I like things I can pull apart to find small wins. Single awesome long words I found. Single races won. Sleeve on backwards? Bah. Look at this cool ruffling thing I did on the neck!

Monday May 26, 2008

Garden IV: Defeat of the Squash Borer

So far this spring I’ve been cycling between feeling like I’m an old expert gardener (three whole seasons under my belt!) and feeling like I’m still a total poser (only three measly seasons…)

We’re trying some new things this summer (beets, kale, green onions) and some variation (heirloom tomatoes), some things that were horrible and disgusting failures last year (squash) and some that were surprise hits (arugula, if I can find the seeds). Also: snap peas, serrano peppers, lettuce, and a lot of herbs.

We’re also experimenting with composting for the first time. We just started throwing scraps in our Earth Machine in the winter, so there’s not much compost in there yet. It’s mostly a barrel of moldy orange peels, rotten lettuce, and some dead leaves. Still if you dig down a little, there’s enough honest-to-goodness compost down there to stop me feeling like it’s just a really dirty garbage can.

This part of the spring – especially a spring as cold as this one – is rough for the insecure gardener. Everything still looks so tiny and bare. None of my seeds have started poking up yet, so I’m sure they never will. The basil seedlings and parsley look a little tenuous, and I’m convinced that the onions will blow away with the next strong wind.

But I’ve been through this before. In a few weeks the thing will be a riotous tangle of green, and my early season worries that nothing will grow will be replaced by concern that everything’s growing way too much.