Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens is one of my favorite films. The documentary profiles Edith "Big Edie" Bouvier Beale, the aunt of Jackie O, and her daughter, "Little Edie." Grey Gardens is their Hamptons estate situated among the most elite properties. Their story in incredible. In the 70s the health department raided the property citing multiple violations and threatening eviction. Jackie O contributed enough to get the property in good enough shape to allow the two women to stay, but the scandal prompted this documentary, and by the looks of it, the property quickly reverted to its former condition.  They have sold off their Tiffany pieces for money and cats and wild animals infest the house. "Big Edie" is almost always surrounded with garbage, piled around her in bed. They have almost no exposure to the outside world and even as the walls crumble around them they seem to have little awareness that anything is wrong. 

"Little Edie" is around 50 at the time of the movie and yet she seems to be a child. She laments proposals she turned down, at the insistence of her mother who wanted to keep her around, and talks of wanting to 'redecorate' despite the fact they are surrounded by garbage and filth.   "Big Edie" relishes the smell of the cat urine that soaks the house. 

The film as a grotesque yet timeless quality that intrigues you to investigate further. Their bizarre relationship, isolation from the rest of the world, and inability to see reality makes this character study one that will always catch my attention. 

The video below is 9 mins long, but shows some of the parts of the film. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We made sushi the other night. It was surprisingly easy, cheap, and delicious! Yum!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

what the smell of a fig tree can do...

On my way home from the bus I walk by this fig tree. Today I stopped and smelled it (I do this sometimes) and a wave of memories hit me. In our neighbor's back yard in South Carolina had fig tree where a permanent cat trail ran beneath. The smell is so distinct, fresh and sweet. There are so many things I'm reminded of here, that I had no idea I remembered. DC is much more southern that I had expected. The gigantic plantation trees and the viney forests remind of a time I thought I had forgot about. I'm often very nostalgic, and nostalgia is always tinged with sadness. But this doesn't make me nostalgic. It makes me happy that the very early and very short period of my life in the south, when my parents were married, and when Katie and I were so young, is not lost. 

I didn't think moving here would would allow me to come so close to nature. DC has a lot of green spaces. There is a forest in the back of our buildings with long trails, and everyone in neighborhood gardens. And, if you need more space, there is a communal gardening area at the edge of the forest where people in the neighborhood can rent plots to grow veggies and flowers. It's so pretty to walk through. I've really missed this in Chicago. I've been coming to realize that I do prefer Chicago in so many ways, but at least DC has this.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Georgetown University, where I spend many of my days. Its very beautiful and old. Above is the Library. Below is the student center of sorts.
And the gigantic trees.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jim Henson


On Friday Aaron and I went to a few museums, one was the Freer, with beautiful Whistlers that inspired me. We also went to a Jim Henson exhibit. They had a number of muppets, sketches, and videos (including the ones below). I really enjoyed it and it made me happy that I haven't lost my imagination. This summer as been all about examining my future and deciding plans. It was so great to remind myself of what its like to be a child, or at least to enjoy child like things. His characters are so clever and funny, and I remembered how they charmed me on Sesame Street so many years ago. And his sketches made me think of Jim's (my father in law) cartoon sketches. Anyways, it was fun. Enjoy!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Great Plains by Ian Frazier

I finished this book this morning, and was so sad it was done. It begins,

"Away to the Great Plains of America, to that immense Western short-grass prairie now mostly plowed under! Away to the still empty land beyond newsstands and malls and velvet restaurant ropes! Away to the headwaters of Missouri, now quelled by many impoundment dams, and to the headwaters of the Platte, and to the almost invisible headwaters of the slurped-up Arkansas!... Away to the skies of sparrow hawks sitting on telephone wires, thinking of mice and flaring their tail feathers suddenly like a card trick! Away to the air shaft of the continent, where weather fronts from two hemispheres meet, and the wind blows almost all the time! Away to the fields of wheat and milo and sudan grass and flax and alfalfa and nothing! Away to Montana and North Dakota and Wyoming and Nebraska and Kansas and Colorado and New Mexico and Oklahoma and Texas!"

This is a book by a writer that lived in Montana for a bit and drove around the great plains. He mixes anecdotes with a lot of history to give a picture of this place. The plains are so dry and holds so little that when things come, they leave an imprint. The plains hold dinosaur fossils, shark teeth and prehistoric fish bones, tracks from buffalo, the Oregon Trail, and Native American camps. Abandoned homes from the 30s still stand as if untouched. Booming towns are now small, but each has a museum from their rich history. They seem to remember Sitting Bull, Billy the Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, or the In Cold Blood killers like they had just left. It makes me want to drive and be in that history. It makes me mourn the loss of the Native Americans, single family farms, open un-owned land, and the promise of adventure. But the expanse there is so large, you can still go and stand under an unobstructed sky, and imagine nothing has changed.

In telling the history and the present of the Great Plains, it seems the reader really gets to know them. Wouldn't it be wonderful to come across a home left in the middle of the Dust Bowl, preserved as if left last month? The book was nostalgic and informative, and I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feist on Sesame Street

I love Feist, and here she is on Sesame Street. Best video I've seen in a long time!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I get the joke but...

I really love New Yorker magazine. Its definitely one of my favorite publications. And I know there's a history of political cartoons in our country. I also know the above cartoon is meant to be satirical about the lies and innuendo spread about Obama. But the well respected publication is not doing him a service by putting this image in broad public view. This kind of image gets in people's heads. Its a one day story, but feeds into the most ridiculous of lies about Obama.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

La Valse d'Amelie Piano Version

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's a Classic

If I could have any car in the world it would not be fancy or new. I love older cars with a square shape, or old hatch back Saabs. I don't want a mustang or classic jag (well that would be ok too). I would love this 90s Jeep above. But I want my one day car to run and be dependable, after having so many beaters. So my new plan is to acquire my dream car, which should be a deal since nobody else would want it, and replace the whole engine. Kind of ridiculous. But wouldn't it be great if for the rest of my life I only drove this sweet Jeep, or an awesome orange Saab from the 80s? So great. This is my plan (will probably never happen).

Friday, July 4, 2008

I have been missing my kitty Laney. She is a house guest of my friend Courtney for the summer and has made a new friend, cat Wellington. I miss her greetings at the door, and her little trills (she has a girly meow). I've been told that while she does get along with Wellington, she guards her favorite toy with her life and brings it along with her wherever she goes. What a great cat. She has been with me for a long time. Even lived with me in my garden level studio, not unlike the one I'm in now. If I were sitting like Edward Gorey was (below) among my books and kitty, I would be pretty happy. Well, I guess I am pretty happy. But I still miss my kitty. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Jackie Brown

I really love the movie Jackie Brown. Not one of the favorites among Tarantino fans, but a love of mine. As usual he has a great sound track, and you'll find my two favorite songs from the film above (the trailer) and below (just awesome). 


My birthday turned out better than expected considering I'm far from home. First pockets sent me a card (Aaron's childhood villain embodied in a sock monkey and drawings by Jim). He loves to say "SHUT UP!"

Then yesterday I received a gift card in the mail and with that and money from graduation I did some awesome guilt free shopping. Then Aaron met me after work and took me to Anthropologie to get jewelry (yum)! We then had an epicurean adventure with "The Shuckers Sampler" (raw oysters, clams, muscles, and spicy shrimp) at a restaurant we came across near there:

Then today I came home from Georgetown with flowers from my sister waiting in the hall:

What a lucky girl I am!