Not sure what it says about me that I can't seem to update this here blog-thing more than once a week. Not sure it matters.
Here in Nouveau Jersey, life is good. There is a breeze. There is a hammock. Much as I heart New York, I have bailed on the idea of going into the city today. This suburban life sure is nice to visit, even though I wouldn't want to live here. (Wait, isn't that what people say about NYC?) I think the thing I love most about my father-in-law's house is that here it seems perfectly OK, even normal, that Iris' bathing suit is lying crumpled on the cutting board in the kitchen. Not that I am such a neatnik by any means, but that just would not fly at home, you know?
On the way here we stopped for lunch in Brookville, PA, and I had to describe the concept of "torn" to Iris, as in, "I am torn between getting back in the car and driving to visit Grandpa as planned and staying here for the rest of my life." Not only is Brookville's main street a Rockwellian slice of Americana, for which I am a total sucker, it is chock-a-block with consignment stores. If I did not have to set a good example for Iris, I would have allowed myself to be dragged away kicking and screaming.
So J and I started talking about buying a country property near Brookville. The country property has been a fantasy of ours for years: some wooded acres, preferably with a pond or a stream, within easy driving distance of Pittsburgh, where we will build and design a modest, modern dream house for weekends and short-haul vacations. It's a fantasy that indulges the other half of our collective split personality: we love living in the city, but we love being in the country. We love living in our quirky old house, but we are both really Modernists at heart. (Funny, I remember saying almost that very phrase – in the first person, of course – to J in our first ever conversation.) We also love the idea of our country place being within bicycling distance of a small town where we could go for necessities and the occasional social outing. If Brookville could be that town, how happy we'd be!
In sadder news, this makes me feel like a bright light has gone out. Her books, especially A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet, meant so much to me growing up, and still do. They're in that category of books I look forward to introducing Iris to one day.
Also in that category: the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I just scored a full set of them at an otherwise junky flea market. Not all of them are the same editions I had when I was young, which is always important to me in used book purchases, but for 50 cents apiece, it's all right. Re-reading them is like reliving my own kid life, the very best parts.