Monday, December 27, 2010

came back from california, was late in setting up christmas, and finally got through it, and more or less collapsed in non-activity, and desire to not even leave the house. actually california wasn't so bad, but i do remember one cultural issue we had: at one point, stranded in the san diego airport at night, my wife went to get burritos which they filled with something and fried. these aren't typical for us so we took ours out of the foil (big mistake) and they exploded: toward the bottom, all over, one at a time but right near each other in time. i felt like a rube from the midwest.

we lit the way; this involves sand in paper sacks and candles by the driveway, and it's my favorite part of the holiday. sure, there are lots of sugar cookies, and a fresh-smelling tree, and all kinds of relatives around, everyone in various states of content or discontent. the cats were first to notice we were on vacation and came and sat on me at every opportunity. the dogs respond by barking for attention almost constantly. actually even the children are somewhat between those two poles but i humor them much more gladly as i've so cruelly neglected them for so long. spy vs. spy is big in our house. it's an old mad-magazine cartoon thing that is a perfect allegory for life around here except that it's so violent (spies blowing up all over the place) and involves bombs and artillery our boys can only dream of. i'm into wild new music & wild exotic food but those are wearing off a little, though i have some vegemite and squid, and guarantee i won't have to share either unless the older boys come around some more and it doesn't look like they're in any hurry. might be time for some serious blogging, but much as i dredge my conscious mind for something to say i still come up blank. i did musical influences last year (or was it the year before)...but i finished it. i'm dried up? empty?

took a picture of the empire state lego construction, pushed up against the tree, and hope to publish it here & play with it a little, if i get a chance, and maybe do some more of that. i like images that stick in people's minds, images like hawkeyes or salukis or the pulliam clocktower, as you well know. these images can be doctored etc.; if i learn the fine points of photography and picture-doctoring nobody will ever know it's legos, or a tree, or even if they do, it'll just be shapes & colors, & give you a feeling. there's a train-man statue in carbondale i've been working on, but there are more symbols of the area, or images that give people feelings, and the point is to get the right combination of shape, composition, color, contrast, etc. which reminds me, 2011 calendar is out, one more time, it doesn't have my name; doesn't have 2011 on it either; just has twelve doctored photos of castle park like the 2010 one did. last year i took one of the castle park calendars to the guy who, by himself, created the park, a private place, a kind of memorial to his son who had died; he regaled me with stories of how it's hard running a private park that quickly gets overrun with public boors. we promised him we'd be on his side in keeping the bad guys at bay and the litterers chastised. actually littering doesn't seem to be such a problem anymore; as a culture we've kind of cut down on it. the calendar is my contribution. i admire the guy; i might give him another, this year.

it's paper-route day, one of my private holidays; on december 27, maybe it was about 1966, i got my paper route. i delivered pittsburgh post gazettes for 42 cents a week, for maybe three or four years; the high point was one night, when i was alone one summer morning, maybe 5:30 or six, and the sky lit up with a meteor shower the likes of which i've never seen since. oh, yeah, there were other high points. low points too, and sore shoulders, and rain and snow, pittsburgh being what it is. i kept the holiday in my mind though; it is what it is, and here i mark it. i'll tell you some of my other holidays sometime. they're much less boring than, say, labor day. it's different, when you're the only one celebrating it.

deep into break and break mentality; it's past the kids' bedtime, but i'm letting it slide, for the moment. no school tomorrow, or anytime for the foreseeable future. what's the rush? let the bad tv roll. you watch endless "spongebobs", i'll blog. if you can't behave, it's enough of those christmas cookies, the kind with all the icing and decoration on them. might get back to my novel, which never seems to take, or one of a million other projects i've put off until this little window. time to get going. that is, as soon as this lazy spell wears off. chou

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