A man of many facets.

Alan’s been tuning up his dad’s thousand-year-old .22 rifle, downloading ancient manuals online, disassembling it, cleaning it. Finally he took it to a state-owned rifle range in Oakland County and tested his aim. I’d say he did pretty well for an amateur who hasn’t picked up a firearm in years:

Nice shootin'

It’s times like this I’m glad I live with a man, competent in the manly arts and all that, able to defend our home from an onslaught of squirrels, rabbits and other small game. (And believe me, around here, I think it’s entirely possible.) Then I walked through the living room and saw this:

Atop the bookcase

For your information, Alan selected every item on the top of that bookcase. The “little book” on the right is an art object made by one of our neighbors in Ann Arbor and was a Christmas present in 2003; the vase on the left is Pewabic and was a Mother’s Day* gift in 2005. The little Navajo turtle pot in the middle was found by Alan at an auction last summer. He thought the bottom was getting scratched by sitting directly on the wood, so this weekend he wandered into a shop in Stratford and bought that carpet scrap, part of an antique Persian, or so the saleslady said. “It’s Persian, but it sort of looks Navajo,” Alan replied. I looked at this arrangement and said:

You know how I know you’re gay? Because you not only bought the pot and the carpet scrap, but when you put them together you placed the pot on the scrap asymmetrically.”

“I’m rebelling against my childhood in Defiance, Ohio.”

Defiance is a very symmetrical place, to be sure. Still.

Well, we heard from Danny, in the comments in the post below. For those of you who didn’t see it, it’s here. He’s safe for now, but as we all know, the area’s still terribly dangerous. Good thoughts, prayers and positive vibes — whatever your preference — to Danny.

However, no tragedy is so great it has no comic relief. I’m glad to see other people’s kids are like my kid:

The police in the afternoon escorted some residents in northern San Diego to retrieve medicine and urgent belongings. Of course, that definition was flexible.

“Bongos? Why the heck are you bringing bongos! We don’t need bongos!” Gerald DaSilva shouted to his daughter as they raced in and out of their relatively undamaged house and loaded their pickup. “Look at all this stuff — CDs, magazines, come on, what is all this stuff? Get your phone chargers.”

Ever think of what you’d grab if you had to flee with one carload? It’s a worthwhile exercise, both in idle woolgathering and for future disaster planning. For me, in order: kid, dog, art, letters. All the rest is replaceable.

In other news at this hour, it should be obvious I got nothin’ today. Well, I got this:

“Albus Dumbledore” is an anagram of “Male bods rule, bud!” (Thanks, Vince!)

Any astute reader would have seen that one coming a mile away. More later.

* CORRECTION: It was an anniversary gift. “I don’t give you Mother’s Day gifts. You’re not my mother!” He’s right. I was confused.

Posted at 7:57 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

26 responses to “A man of many facets.”

  1. brian stouder said on October 24, 2007 at 8:28 am

    we heard from Danny – and don’t forget Ricardo!

    Still pondering the point that Danny and Ricardo made, and that one hears affected people say on the news – that you smell the approaching fury, and then you know it’s time to go

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  2. Mindy said on October 24, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Hey, I’ve got a husband like that. Last weekend he cut up a dead tree that had blown over on our septic tank and bled the brakes on my car. Oh, it’s nice to have a man around the house. But he doesn’t buy antiques that aren’t guitars and amplifiers or go to yard sales, much less arrange anything asymmetrically.

    As far as grabbing stuff goes: husband, dog, box of financial stuff and favorite painting for sure. Then I’d probably die in the fire trying to decide which wonderful old sewing machine deserved to flee with me.

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  3. Connie said on October 24, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Oh Mindy, a woman after my own heart. My Singer Featherweight or my expensive computerized sewing machine? Which to take?

    Actually our vague evacuation plan leaves behind all five assorted sewing machines.

    My husband does all that useful man stuff, but buying art or pottery? He is a non-materialist who seeks to own nothing. His clothes would fall off in rags if we didn’t buy him clothes for Christmas.

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  4. LA mary said on October 24, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Aside from my kids, pets and important papers, I would take the heirloom jewelry. All the family photos, baby pictures, etc, were taken by my ex when he left, the those would be the only other things I’d save. Ironically, he now lives in Malibu, which is on fire. I hope he saves the photos if he has to evacuate.

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  5. nancy said on October 24, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Mary, assuming your ex isn’t a trillionaire, how is it that he lives in Malibu? Or does ‘bu, like Grosse Pointe, have a huge middle-class section that no one outside the area even knows about?

    All I remember from my drive through the place 20-some years ago were a lot of garages that backed up onto the main road attached to houses that didn’t look like anything special, but I assumed cost a jillion dollars.

    Also, it seemed Malibu was miles from everywhere else in L.A., and it would be helpful to either be a) a tycoon who no longer has to go to the office; b) a tycoon with a home office; or c) someone who doesn’t mind driving truly heinous distances.

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  6. Dorothy said on October 24, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I didn’t flee impending fires, but when we packed up to move and thought we’d be in an apartment for the indefinite future, I sure packed my Pfaff computerized sewing machine! It’s keeping me sane in the one-bedroom apartment.

    Here’s my packing list: Husband, dog, leash (so I don’t lose the dog), my wedding rings, financial stuff, quilts I made, photo albums, cell phone charger.

    I envy you the Featherweight, Connie!!! I’ve always wanted one!

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  7. MichaelG said on October 24, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Newly split, I don’t have much to take or leave. Passport, some papers etc. The rest is back in Auburn which, thankfully, had rain during the last few weeks so we’re optimistic about fire.

    See Ken Levine for an amusing take on what to bring:


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  8. Connie said on October 24, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Dorothy, my dear sweet mother-in-law gave me the Featherweight she purchased at Uncle Merle’s Singer store when she was pregnant with my husband. Her two daughters and the other two daughters-in-law also sew. I asked her why she picked me, and she said “because you are the one who seems to really care about sewing.”

    And my Pfaff is a 7570, what’s yours?

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  9. LA mary said on October 24, 2007 at 11:39 am

    The ex lives in Malibu because, ahem, his girlfriend lives in Malibu. The one I accused him of messing around with eight years ago? The one he said was only a client? That one. She got the house when she split with her hubby, now my ex lives with her. Near the Starbucks Britney goes to.

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  10. Danny said on October 24, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Still pondering the point that Danny and Ricardo made, and that one hears affected people say on the news – that you smell the approaching fury, and then you know it’s time to go

    Yeah, I’ve been thinking a good bit about NOLA and Ashley these past few days and pondering the difference between hurricanes and wildfires and why there is typically (it seems) less loss of life with the latter. Maybe its that people have a more visceral aversion to fire than to water. Or maybe it’s that fire season is more of a predictable departure from regularly scheduled programming than hurricane season and the flooding. I dunno.

    Well things seem a lot better here today. My plan is to unpack with a wary eye to the sky and an ear to the local news. For those interested, my list: Records (papers, laptops, external hard drives), photos and home movies, two guitars and a mandolin (two are heirlooms), clothes. And since we had time and space, I included the CD collection and the road bike.

    Wow, we’re at 14 percent relative humidity today. That almost counts as rainfall in SoCal during fire season. Being from Maryland, I always marvel when folks out here remark, “Man, it is humid today,” and it is only like 70 percent and 75 degrees F.

    Keep safe, Mary and Ricardo. Cheers.

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  11. LA mary said on October 24, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Other than the extremely bad air bugging me, I’m fine, Danny. Glad things seem to be improving there. It might drizzle this weekend. Keep the digits crossed.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on October 24, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Featherweights rule! Mine belonged to an aunt who died way too young. If it only had zig-zag, I’d never need another machine. (Which for the record is a 23 year old Bernina.) About ten years ago I was offered $250 for it, sight unseen, which qualifies it as a treasure in our house. We invested in our kids’ education instead of fine objects, and that’s just fine with me. But I would let the Featherweight go if taking it meant I couldn’t take the quilt my grandma made me.

    My best thoughts and prayers go to all those fighting the fires.

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  13. Mindy said on October 24, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Wow, Julie, how cool that your Featherweight is an heirloom. Mine came from nameless, faceless eBay a few years ago, very complete and in great condition. Love that hum! I’ve also got a 301 which is similar to the Featherweight but gear driven rather than belt driven. Pfaff takes care of all my zig-zagging needs like your Benina does for you.

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  14. Dorothy said on October 24, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I’m not sure of the model of my Pfaff, Connie. I think it’s about 10-12 years old. It’s at home now and I’m at work (being a bad girl by writing here), but I’ll let you know.

    When I worked at the quilt store I came to know the value of the Featherweights. They are like gold to seamstresses and quilters! My very first E-Bay purchase about 18 months ago was an antique Singer with a treadle. Mike is going to restore the cabinet and then I’ll get to see if the machine really works.

    He bought me a trusty little Singer 28 years ago when we got married, and I donated it to my favorite small town theater group when I got my Pfaff. They needed it more than I did since they were getting ready to start doing musicals, and you know the number of costumes they have to make for those extravaganzas! We’re actually going to Pittsburgh on Saturday to celebrate our 28th anniversary, and see that same group put on “Arsenic & Old Lace.” I can’t wait to see so many old and dear friends after the show!! I may just cheat and run upstairs to the dressing room before it even begins.

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  15. brian stouder said on October 24, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    (being a bad girl by writing here)

    isn’t the Mae West line ‘when I’m good, I’m very good; but when I’m bad, I’m better’ ? (something like that)

    Arsenic and Old Lace! Back in 1979, that was the play that South Side put on, and I got the part of Teddy Brewster (lots and lots of fun!). One of the old ladies was played by a classmate who was one of the first women to get accepted to West Point, and Mortimer was played by a fellow who, last I heard, has an active career in commercials and stand-up comedy

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  16. Julie Robinson said on October 24, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Arsenic and Old Lace was the very first show I was ever involved with, at a community theatre in 1970. I had just graduated 8th grade, and I was on the props crew. I was personally responsible for Mr. Spinalzo. The show is hilarious, as is the movie starring Cary Grant. Now our radio reading service is considering a radio version (shortened) for production. Can’t wait.

    And my Bernina has sewed lots of costumes in its time, since both kids were in theatre, marching band and choirs. That’s great fun, too, and I hope to do more of it when I don’t have to work for a living.

    To Brian: Charge!!!!

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  17. brian stouder said on October 24, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    (and then, at the landing after the first flight of stairs)

    “Charge the blockhouse!!”

    The part is a tailor-made show-stealer

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  18. John C said on October 24, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I think you are right about the fear of fire thing, Danny. I’ve lived and worked through several hurricanes. Many of the deaths happen because people don’t appreciate the severity of the situation. It’s rain and wind, after all. You can handle those things, right? New Orleans was a whole nother matter, of course, what with that pesky little problem called a Complete Breakdown in Government Services. Fire is another thing.

    Best to all.

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  19. alex said on October 24, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Sure wish I could find a gay husband with the aesthetic sensibilities of yours, Nance. The biggest disappointment on a hot date last week was the decor. This is someone I’ll never be able to share a living space with and I don’t think he’s educable.

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  20. Jeff said on October 24, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Bully! (Where is my trumpet . . .)

    I got to be Mr. DePinna in “You Can’t Take It With You,” and Otto Frank in “Diary of Anne Frank,” but i’ve never gotten to play Teddy. San Juan Staircase is a real show-stopper; lucky boy, Brian.

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  21. joodyb said on October 24, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    FWIW, mark brought back a rug last year said to be from the far south of Iraq that is supposed to be well over a century old. It looks very much like that piece alan found. (one of my designer-eye pals said we should make a giant ottoman out of it; he took great offense and has not spoken to her since.)

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  22. LA mary said on October 24, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    I never got to play anything. I was always the poster/costume/program person.

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  23. Dorothy said on October 25, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Mary you should audition for a part sometime. It’s the greatest fun. I love meeting new people at rehearsals, and then there’s the challenge of learning their real name and their character’s name. It’s chaos at first, but it’s such fun to see it all come together!

    My favorite entry of all time was when I came in wearing a canoe. Complete with the paddle. I had big shoulder straps to hang it off of me. I was wearing a long green gown, too, and had to climb around people and then climb over the stage wall, which was about 18″ high. The play was “Dirty Works at the Crossroads.” I was Ida Rheingold!

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  24. Julie Robinson said on October 25, 2007 at 9:42 am

    The interaction with the audience is intoxicating, as Dorothy and Brian and Jeff know. There’s nothing like hearing raucous laughter and applause. I can’t imagine a bigger high.

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  25. LA mary said on October 25, 2007 at 10:01 am

    As a kid I was in the chorus of an amateur philharmonic orchestra in NJ. I still can do the choral parts of Beethoven’s 9th in German, although I’m not the high soprano I used to be. I’m good for Judas Maccabeus and the Messiah as well. Being in a big chorus isn’t the same as playing a part, but there is something really amazing about being in the middle of that much sound with a full orchestra behind you.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on October 25, 2007 at 11:31 am

    LA mary, I’ve done the B 9th, so I know exactly what you mean. Your entire body is immersed in the music. The first time our son played in a large band, in about fourth grade, he said, “Mom, I felt so important–like I was playing for the president!”. And go figure–I was always a contralto, but I’ve morphed into a mezzo-soprano in my middle years.

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