Monthly Archives: February 2007

Channeling Bunny

After the water incident yesterday, I spent the rest of the afternoon writing at a coffee shop. It was one of those afternoons when the words and ideas flowed and I felt directly connected to my highest, most creative sense. After about three hours, I walked back home, still buzzing from the writing high.

I walked to the back of my building, towards the mail room, and ran into a neighbor who I know from church. Jane is in her 80’s. She wears her white, wavy hair in a shoulder skimming bob, always has large, translucent-plastic framed glasses balanced on her nose and looks spookily like my grandma Bunny.

Jane and I have become friends over the years. She’s called me more than once to come down to her apartment on the 18th floor and solve a computer or printer problem, always sending me home with cookies from the bakery across the street as payment for my time.

Yesterday I saw her and said hi, like I always do and kept going. Instead of just returning the greeting, she called out, “Marisa, wait just a minute.” I turned back and waiting to hear what she had to say. She said that she wanted to compliment me on the work I’ve done at the church, particularly in relationship to a new monthly Sunday evening worship service that the young adult group has been coordinating. She told me that she has made it a point to attend our services, because she likes to make sure that we young people know that the old folks like her want us to succeed and she thinks we’re doing a wonderful job.

She complimented me particularly on the pieces I’ve written and presented at the services and told me how impressed she was by me. By the time she finished I was blushing madly and nearly crying. I thanked her for her praise and went and got on the elevator.

When I got upstairs, I dropped the mail on the table and collapsed into the couch. It still seems slightly strange to me, but when Jane was telling me how proud she was of my efforts, it almost seemed like it was my grandmother’s voice was speaking in tandem with her’s. Bunny died when I was just about to turn 15, long before we had a chance to work out some of the hurts we caused each other during the decade and a half we got together. I’ve spent some time over the last couple of years actively working to release the bits I’d been holding onto and Jane’s words helped me forgive on a new level.

As I was driving to class yesterday, I called home and my dad answered the phone. I told him about my encounter with Jane and how I had felt like for a moment it had been Bunny talking to me. He paused for a moment and then said, “You know, that’s just the sort of thing she would have done.” We sat silently on the phone together for a couple of beats, each remembering and feeling filled with love. Finally my dad spoke again. “Maybe in some way it really was her. You never can know.”

Water feature in my closet

Often times I get notices slipped under my front door, telling me that the water in my bathroom or kitchen is going to be turned off on this date or that, for several hours or a whole day so that they can do some work in some apartment above or below me. I stumbled out of bed this morning and into the bathroom, only to remember, when I tried to flush the toilet, that there was no water this morning. The water was still on in the kitchen, so I was able to brush my teeth and make coffee, so I didn’t mind too much. Luckily I had nowhere to be and so spent the morning in my pajamas, doing homework and answering emails.

Around noon, I wandered towards the bathroom, hoping that the water would be back on and I’d be able to take a shower. Before I could check it out, I heard a strange sound coming from my closet. It sounded like there was something in there, trying to get out. Since my closet if pretty full and very narrow, I figured it wouldn’t be a person. I briefly considered the possibility of a small animal leaping out at me before I opened up the folding doors and discovered a stream of water pouring through the ceiling of my closet. I ran for a bucket and some towels and called down to the front desk of my building to let them know that there was a leak someplace.

My beloved Frye boots were saturated, but beyond that and a few damp skirts, there wasn’t any damage. I was a little concerned about the boots, but half an hour later they were dry and there wasn’t a mark on them. God bless that Frye waterproofing.

The source of the leak was the bathroom directly above mine. Someone has gone in there during the time that the water was off and had turned on a faucet. When no water had come out, they had left it in the on position, so that when the building maintence guys turned the water back on, it poured out. Apparently no one was in the apartment at that time, and so had I not noticed the waterfall in my closet, it could have gone on much longer and have been much, much worse.

It’s funny, this near-miss has left me filled joy. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but I’m just so appreciative that something could go so wrong and cause so few problems in the long run. When I had first seen the notice about the water shut-off today I had planned to get up and out before 9 am, so that I wouldn’t have to wait around all day to take a shower. But last night I had a hard time falling asleep, and forgetting that they were turning the water off, I let myself sleep in a bit this morning, cutting off my plan for early escape. So I was here when it happened and caught it fairly quickly. It’s sort of like when my car battery died last summer. It was totally inconvenient, but in the end it all worked out beautifully.

Pandora and a blog birthday

I was talking to my mom tonight and she told me about a pretty cool incident that happened recently involving my sister’s music. A friend of my dad’s from the Unitarian Church in Portland was listening to Pandora Internet Radio one night while she was doing dishes. She heard it start to play a song that she really liked, so she dried her hands quickly and ran over to the computer. It turns out the song she was enjoying so much was one by my immensely talented sister. My father loves to sing the praises of his creative and beautiful daughters (a trait that often makes me cringe) so this woman knew immediately who Raina was.

I had no idea Raina was on Pandora, but I’m really excited by this news, because I know that there are quite a few people out there discovering music via Pandora. Hopefully people will come to her music this way. If you are a regular Pandora listener, make sure to check out Raina Rose.

Since it is after midnight, I’ll have to fiddle slightly with the date of this post to make this statement true, but today is my blog birthday. I’ve been doing this thing now for two full years which thrills me not just a little. I am deeply grateful for all of the wonderful things that blogging has brought into my life, including a life direction, many fantastic people and a way to record the moments of beauty I experience daily. Thanks to all of you who read this, whether you stop by regularly or only just once in a while.  I appreciate each and every one of you.

Random Friday–No Hard Times

Set your pod a’shufflin’ and report back the first ten songs. No omitting, skipping or justifying allowed. Be proud of your eclectic tastes!

1. Give It Up, Amos Lee (Amos Less)
2. You’ll Never Be The Sun, Harris, Parton & Ronstadt (Trio II)
3. Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, McFadden & Whitehead (Boogie Nights)
4. Sullen Girl, Fiona Apple (Tidal)
5. Got To Give It Up, Marvin Gaye (Boogie Nights)
6. Whippin’ That Old T.B., Jimmie Rodgers (Jimmie Rodgers 1932: No Hard Times)
7. Ruins, Melissa Etheridge (Yes I Am)
8. The Cool, Cool River, Paul Simon (1964-1993)
9. You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon (1964-1993)
10. Wagon Wheel, Old Crow Medicine Show (World Cafe Live)

Somehow, out of the 6,945 songs on my iPod, this set managed to spit out two from Paul Simon’s box set and two from the Boogie Nights soundtrack. Something odd is afoot. It’s always a kick to have Jimmie Rodgers show up, as no one yodels like him. His is some of the music of my childhood, experienced through the filter of my dad playing guitar in the living room on Saturday mornings, just before Raina and I teased him into making pancakes.

Out of this set, I have seen numbers 1 and 10 live, and both were some of the best live music I’ve experienced in my years of concert going. I would see either again in a heartbeat.

Other players:


18 months of dating in 120 minutes

I got up this morning at 6:30 am, after only about six hours of sleep, to pick my friend Seth up and take him to the airport.  I’ve mostly worked off the karmic debt I accrued by forgetting him a couple of times when I had promised an airport pick up or drop off, these days we have a nice airport travel relationship where I take him when he needs it and he does the same for me.

When I got back home I briefly looked at the newspaper and my email before tumbling back into bed for a couple of hours.  In the two hours I slept, I had a series of three dreams.  In each, I was in a relationship with a different man.  I couldn’t tell how long the relationships had been in existence, I just kept dropping into different scenes with each of the guys, experiencing the love or frustration or anger or detachment that the me in each of those realities was feeling at the time. I woke up to a ringing phone at the end of the third dream, relieved to be released from the rollercoaster of emotions and a little confused about how much time had passed.

It was a strange experience, because it felt so real.  It’s odd to feel in some way connected to distinct personalities that I’ve never met embodied in my conscious reality.  I’d like to think that had I known those men during my waking life, I never would have permitted myself to be involved with them, because in each of the dream scenarios, I was in some way mistreated.  None of them were bad, they just were tuned to prey upon one or more of my insecurities, almost as if to show me what I still need to work on.  It was as if I was moving through relationships that only had the potential to exist if I allowed my mostly-dorment feelings of insufficiency, which I am always trying to love out of existence, run the show.

It was in some ways like this half-dream I had a while back.  The subconscious is such an amazing thing.

Impromptu dinner with cousins

For as long as I’ve living in my apartment building (and for many years before I moved in), there has always been at least one other member of my family also in possession of an apartment in the building.  My grandmother’s sister bought a small apartment in the building sometime in the late 1980’s.  Soon after, my great-aunt Flora moved into a two-bedroom on the 9th floor.  Up until recently, my great-aunt Belle’s sister lived somewhere on one of the upper floors as well.

These days just about every member of my grandmother’s generation is gone (except for Aunt Belle, she’s still kicking), but I still have family in the building.  My mom’s cousin Angie bought Flora’s apartment when she moved out (which is sometimes slightly weird.  As I exited the bathroom in her apartment tonight, I experienced a time warp, in which I thought I would be walking out of the hallway into the apartment as it was when Flora lived there.  It was a shock to turn the corner and find it so drastically different).  Coming home from class tonight I ran into Angie and her daughter Melissa in the lobby as they were coming in from a day at the movies.  They waited for me as I collected my mail and we rode up in elevator together.  I went home briefly, dumped the mail, heated up some soup and took my bowl back down to their apartment.  We sat and ate our leftovers together, me with my soup, Melissa with take out chinese and Angie with humus and carrots. It was really lovely to be with family and not have to even go outside.

On the elevator

I got on the elevator today just after noon.  There was a woman on there already, descending from a higher floor, wearing a full-length fur coat, nice leather gloves, sleek sunglasses and a wooly purple hat with flowers that looked like someone’s color-blind grandmother had made.  The hat did not go with the rest of her look at all, and it made me love her instantly.  She turned to me, looked at my down coat, scarf and hat (that my sister made for me ten years ago) and in a bright English accent said,

“We’re both terrifically bundled today!”

I nodded with a smile and she continued.

“Are you on your way to school?”

I was surprised she asked me this, as most of the time when people see me in the elevator during the day they ask me if I’m off from work today.  There was something in me that was really pleased that she recognized me as a student and I told her that while I am in school right now, I didn’t have class until the evening.  She asked me what I was studying and I told her writing, expecting the normal furrowed brow and “that’s nice” that I get from most people.  Instead she smiled widely and said, “how wonderful!”  She proceeded to tell me that she thought that it was a fantastic choice, as the ability to write is such a useful one.  She compared it to having a law degree in it’s flexibility.

I often feel like I have to apologize for what I’ve chosen to study these days, because it isn’t deeply practical and doesn’t have an obvious career path.  My brief conversation with this woman made me feel, at least for the moment, strong and happy to be pursuing this path.  While I know intellectually that the only opinion that matters is my own, I’ve been in need of a bit of external affirmation lately.  I had been feeling comfortable and even excited by how much I don’t know about my future when suddenly I shifted into a place where the spaciousness of my life scared the ever-living crap out of me.  It was a relief that for the length of an elevator ride someone else expressed confidence that of course I was going to be okay.

A slightly boring round-up of why I haven't posted anything good lately

I realize it’s been a little light on the content around here lately (and that I didn’t get a Friday Random Ten set up yesterday), but things have been strikingly busy around Apartment 2024.  There was a bris on Thursday.  Friday was a whirlwind of shopping for a birthday event, having lunch with relatives, picking up ministerial candidate at the airport, having dinner with said candidate, spending an hour and a half with the relatives again, baking banana bread and making a very large pot of soup (that was really good).

The sad part about all this busy-ness is that not only have I not been writing anything here, I haven’t been writing much for my classes either.  I have a deadline looming for a draft of a novella, without nearly as much progress as I would like and several smaller projects for other classes that are clamoring for attention.  I wake up each morning with ideas and have to say to them, individually and collectively, I’m really sorry, but I just don’t have time to deal with you right now.  Later, I promise.  I sense the reprioritization coming, as the whole point of this year was to have time to write.

On other fronts, I am happy to announce that my sister, the lovely, talented and exuberant Raina Rose is going to be arriving in Philly on tax day.  We’re still working out the logistics of when and where she’ll be performing, but of course, I will be announcing it in big, bold letters right here.  If you’d like to better prepare for her arrival by learning all the new songs, might I suggest you get yourself over to CD Baby and get yourself a copy of The Prophet, the Panhandler and the Moon?  You won’t regret it.

Fork You: Bubbles on your meniscus

The latest episode has been up for two full days now, and I have yet to mention it.  Apparently I am deeply derelict in my self-promotion efforts.  But as they say, better late than never.  This is the episode where we attended a class at the Wine School of Philadelphia and learned about wine.  Then we went back to Thad’s apartment to conduct our own little wine tasting, and I managed to blow wine up my nose and all over my face.  It was very funny and I laughed uncontrollably for several minutes afterwards, most of which are now here for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day

My Darling

Here is a very old Valentine’s Day card, giving to my grandmother by my grandfather in the very early days of their marriage, when she was younger than I am now. I found it in a box at the top of her closet after she died, among a lifetime’s worth of cards offering wishes of celebration, love and condolence.

May we all live long enough to collect such an embarrassment of experiential riches. Happy Valentine’s Day.