Thursday, October 8, 2015

apartment hunting

Full of gleaming, shining possibility, no?  This isn't, in fact, the converted loft space that I'll be renting - it's its twin, opposite, but this has a less good view - I will have courtyard and trees.  It seemed a very good omen that, walking towards it, there was a very pretty orange and white cat lounging in a window (yes, this is pet-friendly).  Indeed, it's the same complex, though not the same building, that I lived in eight years ago, and I will be very very happy (on Oct 28th) to be returning - and to be returning to the transformed vibrant city space that's now downtown Durham (yes, I know all the arguments about how new money has displaced Those Who Made Durham Great, but when I was here 8 years ago it was full of boarded up and half derelict buildings).  Keep every digit that you possess crossed that I can do a convincing job at showing the house I'm living in right now to some people tomorrow afternoon ...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

trotting away

I came to terms with something today: that renting someone else's fully furnished house (very fully furnished, very lived-in house) is perhaps not the wisest thing to have done.  It's not easy to feel as though one has, or can make, an identity of one's own when one's living with someone else's taste, mementos, bits and pieces.  So I've broken my lease (let's hope she can find a replacement tenant, or this will be very expensive), and will go a-hunting for some place else ...

It struck me that I haven't lived in rented furnished accommodation since 1979 (and that had, I swear, some pretty much identical furniture) - but even then, one could make some kind of [pause to kill v small cockroach] dent in the decor by wielding a paintbrush (Linda - if you're reading this, I fully acknowledge that painting that very small room at 244 Abingdon Road a horrible green was a big mistake, but not as big a mistake as painting the oven door, too.  But then, Mr K was never going to come round and see what we were doing there ...).

So - it will be farewell to the Russian, or maybe Finnish horses on the kitchen windowsill.  I'm proud of my own decisiveness ...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

sun, trees

It really was like a mirage this morning - blue sky, slight breeze, no rain ... I know that there will be many, many pictures of trees this fall around the Center - the sunlight today, shining through them, was, I hope, a harbinger of much quiet beauty in the month or so ahead.

Monday, October 5, 2015


(a semi-inadvertent homage to Laura Letinsky, whose still lifes I love ...).  I was worried that, on returning to rain-sodden NC, that this heading would read Leaks, but all in the house seems ok ... meanwhile, back in LA, Alice has just emailed me to say that water from the current rainstorm has just washed over her car (how far over??) and a warning light has come on ... I was going to write about how one of the few upsides of living in different places is that each of us can eat food that the other one doesn't much like - such as leeks - but that seems a little mean-spirited, given the circumstances.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


There's a reason why I have this season's USC poster featuring Samantha Bricio up on my NHC office wall - she's such a fearsome and inspirational attacker.  In this, her senior season, she's probably the best volleyball player in the country, and it's terrific watching her.  Here she is serving (yes, it was an ace ...) as USC beat Washington at the Galen Center today - I was so happy to be in town for this match (by design, indeed - not accident) - which was very, very good, even if I do now have USC's fight song firmly ear-wormed.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

robin's book launch

Robin Coste Lewis's book launch for The Voyage of the Sable Venus this evening, at Elysian, in Elysian Valley - that is, her LA book launch, as opposed to the NY one, or the Bay Area one, or - I think of this as the real one, since this is LA, and this is where she's from, and this was the one with family ... So this isn't a picture of her, but of family, blood relatives and extended - here's her son Henri, sitting on her sister's knee, surrounded by various other cousins, and Chris McGeorge looking seraphic at the end of the row, and David St John on the bench to the right ... I haven't enjoyed a party so much in aeons, and I hope that Robin felt the same: she read quite beautifully, as well as looking shatteringly glamorous.  The Sable Venus is truly launched.

Friday, October 2, 2015

procedural signs of fall

Really, in Los Angeles that means that some leaves are turning very dry.  I just can't get over seeing sunshine and blue skies again, after the last couple of weeks ... even sitting in the sun drinking a cappuccino whilst Alice was inside under anaesthetic and being procedured (all well!) felt like a vacation.  A Procedure - such a useful American word covering all manner of potential things from a tooth extraction to a heart transplant (neither applicable in this case): it sounds suitably serious, so no one feels obliged to inquire any further.  In England, "an operation" is only usually used when a knife or scalpel comes into play: what would we say otherwise?  "Having something done," or some such vague euphemism, I guess?  "A procedure" usually either means an abortion (which meant that I became conversationally confused, once or twice, when I was first in the US) or something quasi-complicated in Parliament.