Saturday, September 19, 2009

Put That Anywhere

Was walking back from the grocery store and right by the mess of Pat and Geno's steak eateries, saw this guy just throw his big white Styrofoam cup on curb as he climbed into a massive black Hummer. I wondered what he would do if I picked the cup up and knocked on his window with it, saying, I think you dropped this. It would definitely not end well. It pissed me off no end though; and I had him classified in seconds--dumb Republican white kid from the burbs who doesn't care b/c it's not his neighborhood, after all. But then maybe that's totally wrong and he has a heart of gold or the gigantic Hummer belongs to his mean dad who would beat the son up if found any Styrofoam in the car. And then I thought that there are people who would probably think I was the same way kind of because I don't recycle everything. I have been known to throw plastic and newspaper and bottles into the trash. And that's lazy too. I don't flatten out all of the cardboard boxes after I've eaten the cereal or the granola bars either. I guess it's a matter of perspective. Though I still think that guy was a dick.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You Never Call, You Never Write

Last night was the first meeting of this fiction class I'm taking at Penn. I think I'll like it? The story assignments are really short--no more than 5 pages or 1,500 words. I have written a couple of short pieces, but it's hard to write a complete story with that word constraint. I will try. At least I'm not the oldest person in the class; though 90% of the students are in undergrad, two of us are older (plus the teacher). We wrote a couple of free-writes--we wrote about one of our favorite books as a child (Little House on the Prairie. Someone else in the class choose Eloise at the Plaza, another one my favs), and then later we wrote about our favorite movie as an adult (Annie Hall) and how the two are alike somehow. Our 1o minute free-write for each day this week is to describe a physical action in detail such as washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, plucking your eyebrows, eating spaghetti. This morning, I wrote about taking out the garbage, an activity I hate very much, mostly, as I figured out from the free-write, it always reminds me of how I didn't succeed the week before--you know, it has a wine bottle in it, frozen chicken I never made, moldy vegetables I also never made, discarded boxes of pasta, newspapers I'm too lazy to recycle, etc. But it's also because I dislike cleaning the litter box and that's something I have to do every Wednesday too. Here's the first line of the free-write (I'm using the Evie character): "her life would be so, so much better if Wednesday everything didn't always end with trash." I'm also trying to work on the noir story, but have written myself into a corner. Will have to kill everyone off immediately for it to work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scanning Old Photos

Manny has helped me to save these scanned photos for your viewing pleasure. Below, please find me being smooched by my Grandpa in his overalls while Grandma slaves over a dirty oven rack. Or possibly it's one side of a cage they were building to put me in.

My cousin Charlie and me. He's about two years younger though I don't that should excuse his thumb-sucking to this day. I believe in this picture, he's eating either M&M's or Fruit Loops. We were allowed pretty much anything we wanted. My favorite meal was an open-faced Spam sandwich with melted Velveeta cheese and ketchup on top.

My mother in a boy haircut and dress to show her gender. She's holding one of her 7 brothers--I think this must be Tom and then behind her is possibly her sister Margaret. There were ten in all.

Love this photo of mom getting her bath on the kitchen table, Grandma in her apron. To this day, she still prefers baths to showers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Noir Fiction

I have the opportunity to write a noir story for this anthology set in Philadelphia and am having trouble knowing exactly what's expected. Seems like it must have murder, intrigue, and a sort of fatalism; also, the occasional leggy blond and criminals getting away with murder. There's also this hard, dark edge and somewhat of a lack of humor. I guess? But I'm a little confused, I think, about the differences between this genre and the hard-boiled detective piece. I've read a few of the other anthologies published by the same press, and they range from first-person narratives told from the guilty party's perspective to third person tales of revenge. I had an idea that I could write a story where the first line is something like, "It all started with the cats..." And then it would be something about a girl who is trying to fend off the growing number of feral cats that keep appearing on the cement wall behind her house in the dead of winter. Somehow, she discovers that they're gathering from all over because there's a bunch of dead bodies in the house next door and it has attracted rats and, consequently, the nearly-starved cats. But that sounds more like a Stephen King horror story than a noir piece. So I started writing one about a bartender from Ray's Happy Birthday Bar (a real dive bar in South Philly) who gets abducted by a neighbor because he thinks she knows where the key is to some storage space. At first, she has no idea what he's talking about, but then it dawns on her that she does have an idea. There's also a fat Pekingese named Princess Butterball involved. Only problem is that I can't figure out how she would escape. My secret dream is that I would somehow discover this rough and tumble female character who I could write novel after novel about and make tons of money and get to meet Colin Firth.

Friday, September 4, 2009

More House Porn

I realized today on my walk to work that I have even more photos of the house--just a few. I don't know why I didn't take really any pictures of the kitchen. I was relieved that the inspector told me I could put in a mini dishwasher if needed. Maybe I can find an Energy Saver that I like. But enough about me; let's talk about the house. A picture of the open door. Totally exciting. Note the child's drawing of a sun. That will come down immediately!

Here is the back fence. It could use a coat or two of paint, but I like the lattice-work.

Wonderful place for flowers and or herbs or vegetables, though, unfortunately, I am completely unable to grow things. Not even sea monkeys survive under my care (that's not exactly true. I have a plant Carrie gave me for my birthday about 2 years ago that is still limping along, despite the fact that the cats chew on it regularly. I keep it on my kitchen windowsill so as not to forget to water it. And then I forget anyway).

Staircase. Lots of people like the photo montage. Liz M. said she would even allow me to put her photograph up there. Maybe I will ask all of my friends to have their portraits done by Owen Mills as we did in high school.

I did request from LM that she and John build me an elaborate and creative cat-scratching post for a house-warming gift. They are both artists and John can make furniture, so this better be good.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh, well, hope this doesn't jinx anything...

The house inspection went so well today that I'm suspicious. Nothing wrong with the roof, the plumbing, the air ducts, the floors, the foundation, the front, the back, the side, the toilet. I won't therefore be asking for any additional $ to be taken off the house, which is a relief to me because I want to move this along. I took a lot of pictures today, especially since it was only the second time that I even set foot in the place. I still really liked it and so did the inspector, a very nice man who I will direct you to if you need an inspector who will take 3 hours to go every inch of an 830 square foot house while you flip through the current owners magazines. The photos are really in opposite order; taken from when we were leaving to when we first arrived.

Okay, this is the church across the street from the house. I can't wait to be awoken at 6 AM every Sunday morning for mass.

Photo from across the street.

Exterior. Will probably replace the address numbers with new shiny ones from Home Depot.

That's my realtor and friend, Jeanne, who has been so awesome and patient through this whole process. I promised her I wouldn't take any pictures of her, despite her adorableness. I don't think this really counts. She's locking the door here, though we had to go back a few minutes later because I left my gym clothes and journal in the kitchen.

Front again. In the bottom right corner, you will see the very nice inspector who was very thorough in explaining the pipes and plumbing and vents, even though I wasn't really listening.

The top of the house. So cute. And I can hang my flags, finally!

View of the downstairs from the top of the stairs.

Hall closet next to the stairs.
Ceiling fan in the bedroom. Along with central air, the house has 3 ceiling fans--another in the second bedroom and one downstairs.

Crib and art work in the master bedroom
Street view of the church from the master bedroom.

Bedroom closet plus Ikea wardrobe (which they're leaving for me).

Narrow hallway.

Second bedroom where I will store the many foster children I will have to adopt to pay the mortgage.

Closet in the second bedroom.
Tiny, tiny second bedroom.

A pink bathroom and a dream come true. Unbelievably, this little sink is bigger than the one I have now.

And again.

I like that there's a window in the shower, but that's probably because I'm an exhibitionist.

If you had ever told me I would one day own a pink toilet, I would never have believed you.

Living room.

Front window. I wish they would leave the curtains or at least the rods.

Thank God, a washer and dryer.

The reason I bought the house. A lovely bleeding heart Jesus on the kitchen wall.

Back door to the patio.
Alley way door that is rusted shut so I will die if there is ever a fire as I will not be able to exit.

Another view of the front.
I like the arch in the living room.
Detail of the stairs and the inlaid wood floors.

Front door with transom.
Peanut on the kitchen bar.
Nook and original brick from the house.

The lovely and wonderful Peanut, who is fourteen years old, has a giant head in juxtaposition to her skinny body, and is very friendly and sweet.

That's it. I hope you like as much as I do. Please feel free to donate money to me right now. I will be poor for awhile. But who cares. I will have a washer dryer!

Inspect This

The house inspection is today. I hope that the dude doesn't find that the foundation is almost rotting and ready to fall in.

Here are some other ideas I thought of for a blog focus (see previous entry):

1. Reproduce a work of classical art every day.
2. Write about the squirrels on campus (would be hard to track them on the weekends though)
3. Try a new fruit or vegetable or other food product each night (though my local grocery store doesn't carry very much exotic stuff. For instance, I wanted to find bean sprouts the other day but they were not available).

I have still been taking photos on my way to and from work. Evidence below.

A praying monk. The owners of this house yelled out the window at me after I took the picture. Not very religious of them.

The best, best, best window covering. It's a Virgin Mary of Guadalupe sheet.

Shy kitty.

Not shy kitty giving me a high five.