Party Like It's
H. V. D.

Secret Squirrel

I don't carry my camera around all the time so sometimes I cheat. I see something and think ooooh I want a picture of that and then I stage a photograph to recreate whatever it was that I wanted to capture in the first place.

Like these two photos. I walked into the closet yesterday to get socks (I have chilblains again on two toes - what is up with that?) and noticed something glinting in the laundry hamper. Was that a... ?



It was.

It was a camera lens poking out of my laundry hamper because Edward - for mysterious reasons of his own - was hiding in there furtively photographing things with Patrick's camera. Weird? Sure. Hilarious? Definitely. I now know what it feels like to be relentless stalked by the press but I'll bet even Cleopatra never had paparazzi hiding in her laundry basket. Of course she probably kept asps in there.

Anyway I was sorry to lose this moment so I asked him to get back into the hamper while I went to get my camera. He obliged. We repeated. Now it's like we were all there together. Hooray.

Oh and here is one of the shots from his photo expose


You can see Caroline's arm as she approaches stage right; which means Edward's skulking paid off as he nailed rush hour in my closet by managing to photograph a staggering two (2) people. I didn't realize the camera had a fish eye setting but it must and Edward activated it by stabbing at all the buttons. I really like the effect. I mean, if you were hiding in a laundry basket taking photographs wouldn't you want them to look all bulgy and distorted like that? Me too.

Here's another posed photo. Caroline and Edward were sick most of last week. Correction: Edward was sick (all high fevers and listless apathy and gacking) and Caroline was "sick" by which I mean she realized that she was on her way to preschool while Edward would be staying home with the library books and a warm TV she said, "Cough."

And I said, "Oh please" and she said, "No really. Cough. Cough cough cough."

The thing about being a twin is there is always the possibility that your mother might conclude it really is not worth the effort to send just one of you to preschool, especially when she hasn't packed lunches and she hates to pack lunches.

She stayed home with her cough.

So they were both sick to varying degrees and I took this picture to commemorate the pathos of it all.


Good, right? Sad and waiflike and brimming with invalidism? Well in truth this is a retake because when I first approached the couch with a camera they did this


Do you know what that is? That is a picture of at least one child who should have gone to freaking preschool that day, that's what.

Patrick and I are on book three of the....

wait! Books. Very important.

You may recall that one of my readers, Katelyn Sinclair, has written a book called "The Golden Ball" (available through her website or here at Amazon) which Kirkus Review described as "playful poetry that begs to be read aloud." I hosted a book giveaway, some of you received copies, we all faithfully swore to report back for... oh heavens what did they call them? workshop. that's it. awful word... we promised to constructively criticize and now the time has come to do so. If you received her book or have read it through other channels I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment here about what you liked and what you think could use some tweaking. thank you...

So Patrick and I are on book three of Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books (starts with Wee Free Men) and we are enjoying them beyond measure. The other day Patrick said, "Who're ye callin' a banana ye scunner?" and I fell over laughing. God it was funny.

Huh. I read that over and maybe you had to be there but it really was very funny and we're now conversant in Discworld and the books are excellent and I thank you - emphatically - for the recommendation.

Coincidentally I have just recently become obsessed with the ancestry dot com website and the Mac Nac Feegles are tying in beautifully with the line I am poking at which extends back beyond forever in Scotland (minus the hundred years or so in Ireland - damn Cromwell) so we are all about the knowing of the Scots right noo. I have never mentioned this before because I am rightly ashamed of it - but genealogy is a secret passion of mine.

When I was 14 - and this is true - I used to take the subway downtown and pay my $4 guest fee to use the library at the D.A.R.

I was easily the youngest person in there by about 70 years and my fellow genealogists were fascinated by me. Or maybe they wanted to drink my blood. I don't know.

I will never forget when one brittle and no doubt well-intentioned but seriously icky woman asked if I attended college. I said no, I was still in high school. She asked what school and I named the DC public edifice of middling learning that had the honor to claim me as one of their own.

She paused.

She blinked.

She said, "But aren't there black students there?"

Seeing as how my high school was over 85% African-American and WHAT THE FUCK LADY I said why yes, yes there are.

She said, "But honey, don't you mind?"

The DAR, ladies and gentlemen, purposefully narrowing their horizons since the flood. Good LORD. I thought at the time and I am thinking it now just... GOOD LORD. 

Where was I? Oh yes. I was confessing the fact that I am fascinated by begats even though I know, I KNOW, it is the single most boring subject anywhere, ever. No one is interested in your family history. Absolutely no one. Even other genealogy squabs don't care about your finds and it is rare for two of us to exist within one family so even the person who really should care, and say, oh DO go on Julia, you know, my brother, does not. 

He was bored by it when we were teenagers and he continues to be bored by it today. Which is odd because he is the one who stands to benefit the most, being all male and older than me, should I discover our claim to an ancient Peruvian title plus castle plus 800 goats due upon demand. But he just makes a kind of uhhhmmmmming noise when I mention the first school teacher/veterinarian in Tennessee or the Cherokee Nation or the Battle of Dunaverty and if I persist in hypothesizing about a maternal line while he's driving I can hear him slamming his head against the windshield and pouring hot coffee on his lap in an effort to stay awake. So I know, it's boring. 

But my grandmother liked genealogy and she told great stories and I remember being really really little and hanging on her every word as she talked about her family and who did what when and I love looking at these names and dates and thinking oh yes, her and him and that one. There's the story about how my grandmother's mother died (oh I know I've already told you this one. just imagine how many times Steve's heard it) from influenza when my grandmother was a toddler and how her father was left to raise five children. Being a practical although perhaps not very romantic man he waited a few months and then marched next door to where a spinster named Willie kept house for her brothers.

(Willie was unmarried, my grandmother explained, because she had had a horseback riding accident and, well.... was believed to be barren. Crivens)

"Willie," said my great-grandfather, "I feel sorry for you."

And she said, "Why Mr. N, whatever do you mean?"

(they were in Alabama so feel free to go really lavish on the accents. I do)

And he said, "I feel sorry for you because you are going to have to marry me and raise my children."

Sigh. And she did. And had five more children in the process, so go figure.

Anyway I love that story and just the other day I was bumbling around on the ancestry site and found that somone had posted a picture of Willie. I had never seen one before and I was all a'flutter. I mean, there she was. Amazing.

Oh oh OH! Or the fact that both of my grandmother's grandfathers fought together in the Civil War. There were lots of stories about them but my favorite was the one that hinted that one of them deserted when his son was born but returned to his regiment six months later. It was all terribly romantic in a war is stupid and they should have all been farming sort of way but I thought about it as I was looking at records this week and sure enough, there he was. Present, injured, present, awol, and then... back again.

Wow. I seriously have no idea why I brought this up. How funny. I am even more boring on the subject that I realized. Once I get started it is impossible to get me to stop. At least when I am writing I am able to look up and find out where I started. Poor Steve just goes glassy-eyed and waits for me to trail off indefinitely.

Right. Scots. Mac Nac Feegles. Tiffany Aching. Good books, thinking about starting the Bartimaeus trilogy next. Will advise.

And apropos of nothing, Patrick drew this comic and I find it delightfully subversive. I don't know why it posted sideways. Sorry about that. Enjoy your weekends - we have a sitter tonight and I asked her to come at four in the afternoon. Not because we have anything to do but the idea of missing the entire pre dinner, dinner, post dinner was too lovely to miss.

PS So, and I am asking this in the whisper of one tentatively seeking out fellow deviants, do you, um, ever check out the censusii of 1850 and 1860? Does the word tree convey anything thrilling to you? I mean, socially, of course. Take it or leave it. Quit any time you like.

PPS I fixed the link to Patrick's comic.