nonBlog – August 2010

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The Best Days Come in Small Packages—Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010

The magic of small-town entertainments seems to be the theme of my summer. Is that a cliché? I believe it is. I don’t care, sentence me to writer jail—we took all the many girl cousins to the Pittsfield Colonials game last night and it was so ambrosial that five-year-old Ava exclaimed, “This is the best day of my life!”
 
It is nutty what a fabulous evening we had. We are in the midst of a mini family reunion; my sister Sandy and her husband Tim are here with their two daughters at Tom’s parents’ Berkshires house with us for the week: that’s 11 people if you’re counting. My in-laws are so overwhelmed by our sheer volume of noise and stuff that they look like their eyes are going to pop out. Thus we try to eject ourselves from the house on a regular basis. One day we sat on the lawn at Tanglewood listening to Beethoven and Dvorak; very nice. Another day we saw the Children’s Theater Workshop perform “The Pirates of Penzance” in Chatham; lovely. Then Tim spied an ad for baseball and fireworks in the paper, and the überfun was afoot.
 
The kids were tired and itchy; they thought they were in for more very-nice-lovely. It’s a 40-minute ride from North Egremont to Pittsfield; they weren’t much up for the drive. Then we arrived. Wahconah Park is one of the last wooden grandstand pro parks in the U.S.—you can still make that drum-drum-drum sound of praise with your feet. It’s so intimate that sitting in box seats can practically get you beaned in the head, so modest that the best tickets are nine bucks, so styling that the beers on tap include Sam Adams and Blue Moon.
 
The dirtiest car in the lot won a free wash. The fastest fan to change into full Colonial attire won a free oil change. When Ava’s numbered tennis ball failed to make it into a moving net, one of the player’s wives handed her an official Can-Am League ball from Thursday’s game. All the girls insisted they had to have a t-shirt to remember the night, which they put right on over their clothes. In the ten minutes after the Colonials were shellacked 7-1 by the Brockton Rox (I swear I’m not improvising), the little cousins and their t-shirts ran up to player after player and got their shoulders and baseballs signed.
 
Then they cut the stadium lights and the fireworks began. They were extremely decent, not that fireworks have to reach any particular standard to make you grin like an idiot. Ava made her proclamation, and when the show was over we reluctantly walked back to the parking lot. Ava took one last look back and said, “Mommy, this was the best day ever.”

 

Deck Musings, Chapter Two—Saturday, August 7, 2010

I swear it pays to be emotionally messy; to tell the truth about your state of heart, even if it doesn’t flatter you. It was just a month ago I threw up my hands and confessed to being lost, and here I am sitting on another warm deck—this one with a view of the Berkshire Hills rather than the Eastern Sierra—feeling distinctly found.
 
Thursday was a great day. It was tiresome to re-pack after having unpacked a mere 48 hours earlier, but it’s a lucky summer we’re having with many weeks away from the record-low San Francisco temps. In the morning I had a lengthy pow-wow with my agent, who is excited about my post-eureka book idea and wants the proposal yesterday. Oh boy. With great caution I say I might be onto something here—not just something, the very thing. What would that be like, to work on a book that is the logical expression of a creative voice you’ve been honing since you were eight years old? I can’t even imagine it; I had to use the second person there. It’s like touching a hot flame even to hypothesize about it.
 
Then that night I was taking Liv down the street to The Independent, where we had tickets to see William Fitzsimmons in spite of his inexplicable volume of beard. As we approached the line we saw that the minimum age was 21 and that they were not only carding, but carding with that Spy vs. Spy flashlight that detects whether your California license is a fake. Liv and I looked at each other and frowned. She would have to walk home and give her ticket to Tom, who says William Fitzsimmons’ music makes him want to kill himself. (Even I would have to concede that he makes me cry, but considering that I couldn’t for about ten years ending with my dad’s death, I would say that’s a good thing.)
 
I grabbed a table, and when Tom arrived I went to the merchandise stand to buy Liv a consolation t-shirt. Although I am a secret shy person, I have this weird propensity to talk to strangers, so I found myself telling the sales chick the story about our anticipation of the concert and then Liv’s subsequent rejection from the venue. She expressed her dismay and snatched the t-shirt I had chosen, disappearing to get it signed and reappearing with an offer to take Liv in to meet William Fitzsimmons backstage. When I explained that Liv had returned home to babysit the littles, the staffer threw in a canvas bag and his latest CD. I told her that Liv and the sisters in question had recorded a video about the healing power of sisters that used Fitzsimmons' “You Still Hurt Me” as accompaniment, and the story, the journey, the great day—and now the blog—was concluded.


New, or Practically New

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  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.