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I’m now on day seven of the Throat of the 1000 Glass Shards so lately my experiences are severely limited to Internet fun and movies on TV. Right now I’m watching When Harry Met Sally… and am dismayed to discover that I am now the same age that they are for the final 3/4ths of the movie. I remember thinking how OLD they seemed, how grown up and established and professional with outfits and nice winter gloves and such. And now…I totally and horrifyingly relate.  It makes me wonder what other “grown-ups” from TV and movies I’m older than or the same age as now… I’m older than Mary in the Mary Tyler Moore Show already. Older than Tom Hanks in Big? Older than Archie Bunker?? (ok, prolly not that last one. Yet.)

Oh well. One of the doctors I saw this week thought I was 24. So there. And WHMS is still one of my favorite movies.

Here we go again: summer is over and school is about to begin. The campus is awash with cars and people and signage and plastic storage crates and orange bags full of dorm gear. It sort of makes me feel nostalgic for my own undergrad days. But then I see these kids walking around with maps and confused looks (I was late for my first meeting with my guidance counselor the first week of school because I got so lost. I cried. And I never saw her again.) and I remember the terror and general lack of clue the 17 year old me had and I lose that nostaligia pretty fast.  Now I just feel kind of old.

Also making me feel old: being in my pajamas at 8:30pm.

balancing act

Today is a good day for Keems because today I got my first real bike! Well, Soy gave me a bike a few months ago but it was promptly stolen (that was a bad day for Keems). My new bicycle is sort of orange/brown-ish & shiney (sorta like me!) and is vintage-y b/c it was born in the 70’s (just like me!) and is very easy to ride (no comments, please).

It kicks ass. Well, it is a British bike so it is more likely to roll up to your ass and inquire politely after the weather than kick it, but still! And the best part is that it matches my already-purchased helmet. It is as if we were meant to be.

Many thanks to everyone I know for not making fun of me when they learned that I could not ride an adult bike & specific thanks to Soy for getting me back on the (2-wheeled) horse, to SB for helping me pick out my new friend & for the photo above, and giant hoorays to my Mom-O for the gift!

Now, someone needs to get matching helmets for the squirrels.

Today is the first day of Spring. I was doubtful when I rolled out of bed this morning since it was rather blustery outside — spitting rain and cold, pinchy winds. But by the time I got home from work at 4pm, it was sunny and 76 and I gained a renewed trust in my Paul Klee wall calendar.

I’ve been reciting this to myself since then. It was etched into my memory decades ago. Now I share with you.

Daffodowndilly

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:

Winter is dead.

-Milne

Remember how exciting the snow days were? Now comes the inevitable hangover. The snow plows have finally come through town so the streets are relatively clear but at a dear price, I’m afraid. Little Red Car got the brunt of the plow-wake, the effects of which could not be undone even after I sacrificed my arms and back to the Shoveling Gods. That car isn’t going anywhere, at least not until the temps rise above the current 2 degrees (Feels like -11! Thanks cheerful weather robot.) Sidewalks are hit or miss – I had to walk to campus down the middle of a four lane street today because the drifts on the sidewalks were over my head, but lots of the neighborhood walks are clean.

The campus area walks are actually fun because they have mostly been tromped down by hundreds of students and so are uneven masses of snow and ice about six inches above the actual sidewalks. I think walking on these are a good time, trying to find the footholes that will work best for your route, forging new ones when your path suddenly hits a wall of snow. It reminds me of when we were little and my sister and I would play in the backyard snow. We used to pretend we were homeless (yeah, I don’t know) and we’d set up pathways and pretend they were “rooms” in our outdoor house. Then we’d pretend to cook our dinner over the metal garbage cans near the garage and sit around complaining about how the government has created insurmountable obstacles for the non- and under-employed to overcome, forcing already marginalized portions of the population to even more dire living standards. Okay, not that last part. But we would have I’m sure, if we had been more than 8 years old.

Last night I went to E & SB’s for dinner and then to the movies to see The Queen (which I highly recommend for the acting, for the direction, for the costumes, for the seamless archival video integration, the list goes on and on). Dinner was great – fennel pork loin and mashed parsnips and a wilted spinach/goat cheese salad – and the company was delightful.

Back when I was working as a character, my favorite guests were the ones that seemed just as excited to see us as they were to ride the roller coasters. These kids would seriously act like they were meeting their heroes, oftentimes whispering secrets or “I love you’s” into our giant ears. But the BEST were the ones that brought gifts for us, such as drawings and food. Bugs would get carrots, of course. Daffy got sardines and goldfish crackers. Sylvester got cans of tuna and cat-food. One afternoon, Sly was getting hugs from a little kid who was having a hard time moving on, so after his parents urged him once again to let someone else have a turn, the kid started petting Sly’s face (like you would a real cat) and whispering the something like the following:

“Sylvester, if you want you can come home with me and I will love you, and pet you, and play with you, and scratch your tummy, and brush you and you can eat ROAST PORK!”

Sadly, the allure of what was obviously a Very Special Dinner in that kid’s household was not enough to lure Sly away from his home at the park. But it was enough to send him into convulsive giggles.

I’ve been spending the majority of my time this last week giving my apartment a much needed cleaning of the under-the-microwave, back-of-the-closet variety. I was inspired partially by the recent move of two dear friends and the looming start of another busy semester. Nothing spectacular to report except that I was confronted again by the fact that I’m a champion pack-rat of a particularly bizarre nature.

From my father I inherited the need to save everything just in case. But from my mother I inherited my knack for anthropomorphizing inanimate objects to the point that I feel bad for getting rid of them. I actually get concerned about hurting the feelings of my mugs that have been with me for 10 years. I worry that maybe they know that they’ve been replaced by newer, matchy-er mugs and that might give them a complex.  Or maybe that set of towels is going to be resentful that I ditched them and kept the other set.  So I find myself explaining my reasoning to these things as I pack them away so that they at least have some context to work with. I know. Nutso.

The reason I know this comes from my mother is that I have actually witnessed her telling — out loud — a doll not to be scared when the box closes, because even though it will be dark, it will be OK and that the doll should just go to sleep. I am not making this up.

See, at least I come by my weirdness honestly.

Over the last two days I’ve watched three well-made but very different movies — A Mighty Wind, the newest remake of Pride and Prejudice, and Children of Men — and it got me thinking about my taste in movies. I’ve always said that I can pretty much find SOMEthing to like about every movie, whether it be costumes or camerawork or special effects.  I’m also very interested in movie “chatter” – I like Premiere and Entertainment Weekly and make my daily trips to IMDB and Cinematical. The plain fact is that I love movies, I love watching movies, and I like thinking about movies. I am pretty sure this comes from a childhood spent obsessively watching movies (on Beta, natch) until they were committed to memory, credit music and all. Anything that took up that much time and brainspace MUST be worthwhile, right?

The thing about these particular three movies is that they were all good examples of what they were “supposed” to be and I fell right into them all, with little trouble switching gears between them. I doubt anyone would rent Pride and Prejudice and be shocked at the romantic wordplay and swoony resolutions, or be surprised by the frank grittyness presented by Alfonso Cuaron,  and A Mighty Wind did exactly what it was supposed to do to me – it made me laugh out loud and then made me want to listen to my folk and bluegrass albums.  I’m just not sure if my willingness to be pulled deeply into all of these worlds within hours of each other speaks more of the power of these movies, or of the willingness (weakness?) of my brain to slip quickly into the false worlds and suspensions of belief required in truly satisfying movie-watching. If the latter, then I’m sure it is due to years and years of practice accepting whatever the artists were trying to convey as worth my time and effort.

I also watched 3 other great movies in the last two days (hey, it’s winter break): Guys and Dolls, West Side Story and 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. Ah the secret is out, I love the musicals.  Now these are three particularly great musicals and they also happen to be three very different kinds of movies. Yes, there is singing and dancing in all, but the difference in feeling and emotion between 7 Brides and West Side Story is as wide as the difference between Children of Men and A Mighty Wind. Don’t get me started on people who declare all musicals unworthy – they have not given musicals a chance. You don’t have to love them, or get them, or choose them, but you do have to appreciate the artistry. But that is a rant for a different day.

My point is this (yes, I have one): I think my early childhood  exposure to the highly improbable and essentially fantastical worlds of musicals (and pretty much any other movie I could get my hands on) honed my brain to be more easily adaptable to other kinds of films.  I have no proof, and I doubt anyone would take the time to study such a thing, but it’s better than even money that those formative years had something to do with it.

Makes me worry about the kids today growing up on Wife Swap and Scary Movie 4. Who is going to make my movies for me when I’m 70?