Friday, November 18, 2011

Loose bits from the past week

I probably could have posted something earlier this week if I had put my mind to it. But I wasted too much time watching TV this week (I HATE that), and so here we are a week later.  Plus, I had a paper due at midnight on Tuesday (I've only known about the deadline since July), and let's just say that it's pretty fortunate that I was allowed to submit a paper I already put together over the summer.  Ugh, I sound just like my students (I HATE that).

Like I was saying a week ago, I know a lot people with November birthdays.  We actually had an 11-11-11 bday in our group, and he (ie, Shane) didn't know that his wife Tiff had been turning herself inside-out for a month getting a surprise party ready for him.  Of course, did I get a decent picture RIGHT when he walked into the surprise? NO! Because my goddamn shutter DID NOT RELEASE WHEN I HIT THE GODDAMN SHUTTER BUTTON.  WHAT IS THE POINT OF A SHUTTER BUTTON IF IT DOESN'T WORK?  Really, it's currently ranking as 2011's #1 moment of really bad timing.  (*Knockwood* ... I suppose I should be grateful that it's not something worse.)

Shane's back is to me here, but it's funny to see the looks on the guests' faces too.
See the girl with the fancy camera on the right?  I know (without asking her) that she has a picture of me jumping up down, waving my arms frantically, trying to talk myself out smashing my camera on the floor, while spitting "WHY???" in the aftermath of the failed shutter.  Ugh, the agony.  Nothing is more angst-ridden than a split second of time vanished and gone that you COULD have captured. 

(I'm noticing at this point that it's not about the photo anymore ... what's worse than realizing 1/60th of second too late that an opportunity just sailed by your head and you didn't grab it?  UGH!!!  Gotta love/hate existential insight.)

Tiff was pretty pleased with herself and rightfully so.  Shane had no idea.  You know you're at a good party when you sit down with everybody and then *in a blink* somebody announces, "Seriously? It's 1am?"  Meanwhile, you're thinking it's 11:30 or something.  Ron and I didn't get home until almost 2am ... I felt so old because I felt So. Tired.  (Happy Birthday Shane!  ps--Tiff: cake freezes REALLY well. Cut into slices; wrap each slice in plastic wrap; place slices in a tightly sealed ziplock bag; freeze for up to 6 months ... I just finished the last slice of my graduation cake and I swear it was perfectly fine.  I would hate to see the peanut butter magnificence that is the frosting on Shane's cake go to waste.)

Meanwhile, my mom officially shares her birthday with my friends' new nephew.  I grew up in a neighborhood that was 90% boys.  (I realize this last sentence is a non-sequitur. Bear with me.) Girls were really scarce.  The two boys I knew best were Evan and Dan.  They aren't brothers (although they may as well have been).  I literally saw them both every single day during my K-12 existence.  (There is the technicality that Evan broke all of our hearts and moved away to Florida with his family at the end of 10th grade, but I guess that's close enough to 12th grade.)  Evan and Dan each has his own older brother, and I didn't know these boys as well, but I knew them pretty well.  Let's just say that I know them well enough that I really can't believe that one of them is a DAD now.  So many people I know are becoming parents--it totally freaks me out. (Refer back to above statement about the existential angst of A) time flying by too quickly and B) not knowing what to do about it  and C) quietly understanding that there's nothing one CAN do about it.)

Mike the new dad is on the left, Ryan Daniel's in the middle, Uncle Dan's on the right
I never asked Molly if I could put this picture here when she sent it to me--I hope nobody minds? (Molly: let me know if anybody does.)  So it's official that one of the Boys Next Door is a dad.  Dan told me that he would do what he could to *randomly* just bump into me if we're (Ryan included) all in the neighborhood at the same time.  I have to say, I love how all the different pockets of people in my life overlap in different places.  Since my parents and Dan's parents still live on the same street, I still run into Dan there all the time, and now I get to see Molly at my old stomping grounds too.  Granted, I see Molly and Dan all the time outside of my old neighborhood, BUT there's something cool about a place from my past overlapping with people from my present-day life who have shared insight of the same past with me. 

I think that's special. Maybe it's just me.

I did purposely do something rude today for my own benefit: I chose to be 10 minutes for a meeting at school so that I could get some pictures that I noticed a few hours earlier in West Chester.

Church Street, West Chester

I didn't even get all the pictures I wanted--I'll have to do the rest after school tomorrow.

Gingko trees are fabulous in the fall.  I have to say, at Temple few things are pretty but Temple has some great gingko trees.  Generally, everything on campus is coated in a layer of grime and the cement sidewalks and buildings literally radiate exhaustion.  That being said, the gingko trees on Berks Street in between the Septa station and the perimeter of campus are beautiful. I've taken pictures of those--I should dig them up.  Two whole blocks of Berks Street are lined with trees like this.  The leaves coat the sidewalk and it's like the yellow brick road becomes real for a few days every autumn.

There is a downside, however: There are female gingkos and male gingkos.  (I'm not making this up. Google it.)  Female gingkos grow these big, cherry-sized berries and they fall to the ground with the leaves when it gets cold.  When you step on the berries (inevitable when they cover the sidewalk), they REEK of this horrible vomity smell.  Seriously, two whole blocks of Berks Street smell like vomit for nearly a month in the fall.  Nothing would be worse after a full day of school, a 15 minute wait on the train platform, a 60 minute ride on the crowded train, a trudge back to my car in the parking lot for a 30 minute car ride... only to shut the car door and realize, "WHY does my car smell like PUKE??  Dammit, I have gingko berries ON MY SHOES!!!"

The trees were gorgeous, though.  I may or may not be going back to campus on Friday--maybe I'll bring my camera just in case ...


Laurie said...

Nick used to have female gingko trees in front of his apartment! They do stink and get all over your shoes... you should see what they do to a car parked under them for a weekend!

Tiff said...

I will send you a picture I have that perfectly shows your shutter-not-working reaction. Don’t stress about the shutter thing though! I did freeze the leftover cake minus the beer bottle kayaker. Although, I wrapped it in wax paper, tight sealed it in freezer bags, put it in containers and then put it in the deep freezer. Much less was done for the top of our wedding cake and it was great a year later. Thank you so much for coming to the party! I love when Shane explains that he noticed you on the stairs and as he was turning his head, he was thinking…Wait, why is Jo here? Then he noticed everyone else. Fun surprise!

Love the tree pictures….great colors!

Shane said...

Tiffany forwarded your Blog address to me so I could read your excellent description of Friday nights' events. We were happy to see you and your husband. And if I may comment, your writing style is quite of consciousness and conversational in nature, while lending itself to some deeper & more introspective thoughts. The philosopher in you coming out I suppose. See you again soon.

Jo Harper said...

Shane: any chance I can get a copy of your "Patches on the Fabric that Makes Up the Quilt of My Life" speech?? (Did you seriously just say that off the cuff? Because it was great ;)