Natalia is visiting! Jealous, Seattle?
Following a long and illustrious family tradition, my kid has elected to drop out of school.
Back to homeschooling! This is very exciting; my offspring are ... lively.
I had expected my son to spend a week or several meandering around before we started any sort of ambitious schedule.
Instead, he negotiated a multi-faceted curriculum including writing, reading, languages, music, physics, biology, and maths.
To the extent that he has managed to finish an entire year of advanced algebra work.... in three days. While blazing his way through a couple of tomes of classic literature. Interspersed with his habitual allotment of P. G. Wodehouse, obviously.
He says that he feels happier and more fulfilled now that he is able to do proper work.
I shouldn't be surprised; my offspring are excessively difficult and eccentric and twitchy, but they do have some mad skills.
I've made a habit of living in towns only while the library is closed for renovation, and this place is no different.
So I suspected it was an urban myth but no! The Cambridge Central Library is really and truly open for the first time in years!
Summary: the new facility is bigger, uglier, more confusing, and features a cafe implausibly selling wine.
While thinking about the old neighborhood (and new Buy Olympia store) it struck me that wherever I travel, my book is always stocked, but never included in the 'local writer' section.... regardless of the city. Even in the locations described in the text.
When I moved there, the neighborhood (like my house) was boarded and derelict.... now look! The streets are clogged with boutiques and cafes!
Oh, how I miss Portland. But anyway: go here when it opens. Buy lots of stuff:
I spent the morning lurking around Kings Cross waiting to be interviewed for a documentary about health care reform. Glamorous? Not.
Though I discovered once again that I have no problem disclosing all of my darkest secrets for the entertainment of a national broadcast audience.
While giggling maniacally.
Of course you knew that, but it always surprises me.
Finalizing my punishing quest in search of good coffee and it is official: Savino's has the best in Cambridgeshire, AND they play Jens Lekman mixed with wacky eurorap before 10am, AND old men steal my copy of the Daily Mail when I'm not looking.
Ten days worth of strike-delayed letters, packages, and newspapers showed up all in a rush.... including presents from Sara Kolp in Portland! Mmm, Stumptown coffee.
There was also a package from my mother with marvels including a valid driver license!
I officially exist again.
Because of course, the bounty did not include a passport.
Yesterday I watched archive films of seaside holidays in the afternoon, then attended a Spike Milligan play in the evening.
Tonight I hung out on the bridge, watching silent movies and listening to live music. I heart the film festival!
Reading a design magazine, I was shocked to see a European hipster wearing a Huskies hoodie.
Um, in a word: no.
For those not initiated, I'm talking about the mascot and logo of the University of Washington sports teams. To be more specific, a really ugly one, involving the loathed color purple.
This morning I was forced by circumstance to Ladychat at the health food store before 10am! Is nowhere safe??
Worse yet, I also talked on the telephone. Oh, the horror!
Away to London with my darling daughter, where we took afternoon tea at Selfridges and discussed her marvelous plans for the future.
I finally found semi-acceptable new spectacles (shock!), but the store won't make em without a recent exam (drat!).
I don't LIKE my real prescription! It gives me headaches. I did the math, and it would be cheaper (and easier) to fly to NYC for new spectacles. Though that is impossible without a passport.
In other local news, it is conker season!
Will this be my last in Cambridge, the UK, Europe? I have no idea.
Though this is, I think, an ideal outfit for mucking about on boats:
A looming postal strike serves to underscore a series of raw yet subtle questions that have only become obvious since I achieved indefinite leave to remain.
In the most cautious way possible, I am asking 'do I feel safe now' and 'where do I belong.'
Both of these were irrelevant until I had the right to stay in the UK. I'm still ostensibly just a guest worker, a glorified visitor with benefits, but the new status does confer nominal permanence.
Finally, at long last, I have the right to live in a country committed to basic social equality.
No matter what criticisms my British friends might have of their homeland, I do love this country. I am thoroughly enamored to the extent I am not just willing but thrilled to pay massive taxes to support the NHS, and social housing, and state education.
The question becomes: does the UK want me? I'm not so sure.
We suffered through the first date, tentatively enjoyed the second, canoodled a bit, argued and made up, talked over differing ideals around commitment, and are now considering a long engagement. We're not sure if it is a perfect match. We'll have to sort that out.
To distract myself from the insidious oozing worry of waiting for a new passport I have been poking around various social networking sites. They definitely offer some amusing interludes, though I suspect the main purpose of Facebook is to connect me to people who never missed me anyway. If they were being, hmm, what is the word? Honest.
While that might sound cruel, think about it - I am certainly not hard to find. My internet slug trail is long, wide, and gooey.
And this is not a recent anomaly - I have friendships extending back decades before social networking sites made everyone feel as though they are one click away from intimacy. I keep track of people, stories, files, ephemera.
This afternoon I signed, dated, and mailed my stateside passport renewal application. Including original documents, not least the visa and indefinite leave to remain certificate.
For the next little while I'm a foreign national dwelling in the UK with no identification or proof of residency.
Marisa reports the taxidermy collection, funeral house telephone, and precious recordings of the Leavenworth Marlin Handbell Choir (along with the rest of the record collection) have found excellent temporary lodgings.
Did you know it is possible to purchase bulletproof polo shirts at Harrod's?
In the continuing Ladyfication experiment, I attempted to buy fancy soap at a fancy store for the first time in my whole life.
When Gabriel moved out of my Portland house I found a new foster home for the record collection and houseplants, though I forgot to arrange care for the taxidermy.
Why? Because apparently I have "issues." Like wanting to move back to Portland.
I feel an urgent desire to scurry off to Paris to buy yet another handbag.
Except I need to renew my passport. Poor me!
To sublimate a thwarted need for perpetual motion I am making chili con carne & corn bread while listening to Berlin.
Observation: the worst part of having your picture in the newspaper? It becomes very clear who reads newspapers.
I am sufficiently exasperated by Cambridge that I no longer wish to enumerate the reasons. However, I would like to offer a tip to locals: if you have been rude, or dismissive, or ignored me every day for, hmm, five years.... I noticed. Whether your attitude derived from the fact that I am tattered, tattooed, and/or not affiliated with the university, know what? I'm not offended; I don't care.
Good thing I like teenage ruffians 'cause they always love me.
This week, at least, I'm talking about cygnets. Obviously.