Two weeks ago pulled the carpet out of my basement studio, with aims to steam clean it and sun-dry it. It never made it back in the house, and was instead sold on Facebook. Now my studio is agreeably cool in the hot summer days, if a little less posh-looking. I try not to think about the winter, when I’ll bundle up in lots of layers in order to sew. My husband wants to “finish” the basement fully but I am not wild about the idea; we have enough debt and I don’t think he quite understands how expensive an undertaking will be.
Today I sit at the kitchen table and queue up 1958’s The Fly while re-applying lace to a wedding dress, by hand; my oldest child washes dishes and cooks up a tofu scramble, stepping into the dining room to join me for our favorite parts of the film. We laugh when scientist Andre Delambre – played by the very handsome David Hedison who at ninety today is still a fox – discovers the misprint on his “heirloom” ashtray; we cringe minutes later at the reveal of the poor man’s hideous new visage and his creepy, monstrous claw. The doting Vincent Price, caring for his distraught sister-in-law so tenderly. “This movie altered my life,” Phoenix tells me ruefully. It’s still a thrill to watch – all these viewings later.
In the afternoon I sit the children down and let them know they are joining me out at a restaurant on the beach, for lunch. They are to wash their faces and get dressed and not in pajamas. Then, with two of my best girlfriend, the five of us travel in style in a new car, along lonesome back roads green as ever; these roadways will stay fecund and lush through even the driest of summer weather. Along the beach route: lonely trailer parks, half-hazard tourist diversions, produce stands, llama farms and makeshift fireworks stands. As is often the case, the heat in town dissipates as the fog. “Ocean Shores always smells good to me,” Nels says, as we leave the restaurant to find a coffee. I realize every little choice I’ve made has led my children to this life here in this little corner of the world. Who knows where they will venture later? But for now, this is home.
When Ralph gets home I have put my studio back to rights; I have opened the delivered parcel of sumptuous bamboo french terry, and pulled out a sample card for zippertape colors. The earlier wedding dress project is packed into a garment bag and carefully secured in my sewing closet downstairs. I put aside my work for the evening; yoga practice, a shower, and some quiet television with my husband before bed.
“I don’t know why people don’t realize that I like Road House unironically.
“It’s a perfect film. It’s paced well. It doesn’t have any extra fluff. It doesn’t get bigger than the story. It doesn’t try to be something it’s not.”
“I mean yeah, it’s ridiculous. OK. But it’s also got a noir element.”
He’s still listening, so I go on.
“You know, you have this kind of bleak wasteland. You have an anti-hero. A loner. He’s used to just taking care of himself. He’s good at it.”
“He’s a philosopher,” Ralph interjects.
“Right! But then he finds himself in a circumstance where he has to protect some innocents. And he can’t help himself. He has to get involved, even if it’s hopeless.”
I pause, and then say, “Well… I guess it’s not really that noir, I mean besides that. I mean, usually a noir has -“
“- a femme fatale,” my husband nods knowingly.
Instantly, I’m peevish. “Road House has a femme fatale!” I’m pissed. He’s sat through this movie with me many times. Come on!
“…She just doesn’t have a big part,” I allow, begrudgingly.
noticed I’ve been watching all these old films so YOU can be convinced to watch them TOO!
Um, a Japanese zombie/karaoke/claymation/horror/sweet family epic?
And an actually beautiful, romantic, stylish not-so-horror film:
Some more Japanese nuttiness but I promise, way lowkey compared to Katikuris:
Then there’s a man in a big rubbery suit. HOW DARE U JUDGE ME
It is lonely being a woman, in B-movieland. Not even kidding. Join meeeeee
I am elbows-deep in supporting my kids through their schooling and extracurricular activities, paying our bills and keeping house, practicing yoga daily, firing up my B-movie site in a big way (as well as participating in the Bmoviecast and attendant community), and working on a semi-secret (but not really) and massive sewing project.
Also: setting up a 3D super-Wi-Fi blu-ray projector system in our house!
But sadly – all too often, movie night ends in a senseless napping tragedy.
We’re in a group of about thirteen people all watching a film – and next to me my son sits in his white fur cap, content as possible. I watch him as he eats popcorn and tidily drinks from a small can of Sprite soda. His elven profile tears at my heart. I am rendered entirely helpless at how much I love him, and his sister, how they are my everything life and limb and body.
Today I dug into rent money to take my children – and two others – to the movie, and then for pizza dinner. I popped popcorn and hit the drugstore candy aisle and all that stuff because I will work for it, to give them a decent memory on their Winter vacations from school. All that work to try to get us to the theater on time and watching the film I am almost entirely disinterested; I check my phone as discretely as I can. I have a special exhaustion that seems fruitless and yet serene. I just have to move my body from here to there, to wash dishes, to cook pizzas, to direct children to wash hands or get ready for bed – et cetera, et cetera.
Last night was the second night in a row my son falls asleep right next to me, where I sit – crumpled up against me, his body turns heavy and his breathing even. As much as his interests have turned to school, for now (well – kickball and P.E., really), he is still a little boy who finds comfort in his mother. Why he seems so young and his sister – so much more sedate, darkling, older than her years – seems so grown, I do not know. It’s a rather dreadful juxtaposition as I’m torn between being too-important and not-important-enough, depending on which child I behold. Both children seek out my arms often and when I hold them I’m just wrecked in so many ways.
A Christmas package in the mail: a project knit in secret. Homemade Christmas cards. Yoga, and some time to myself on the mat. Breathing out a deep “cleansing breath” and feeling my face against synthetic plastic and knowing my husband is now at home, caring for the children. Dinner will be ready when I arrive and another day will come to a close.
Day in and day out, caring for younglings, one can learn quite a bit about the Right Stuff for the Right Reasons.
I am currently soliciting donations so we four can have a modest, 6-day Lake vacation – including a gathering for Ralph’s birthday!
As per usual, the support I receive online (through email, this site, Facebook, and Twitter) has been wonderful since the ten-plus years. This last year we’ve had a hard time with a few extra medical expenses, car trouble, and a lot of extra layout re: counseling for family trauma. That said, this is how Life works and I get that! We are hoping we can have our six days at the Lake as a vacation is good for anyone who can have one. If you can help in any way, it is appreciated. May I just offer my sincere gladness to those who read here, and those who comment or email, IM, tweet, or text. You are the reason I keep writing.
Thank you for reading and supporting in the many ways you do!
In other news, I launched a new website this month – B-movie BFFs! (tonight’s fare – 1977’s Crater Lake Monster; if you’d like to watch with us, follow the instructions as per the site). This is the home of my ridiculous “Sea Hunt” project; upcoming you can expect my spoiler-free review of Season 2 of “Hemlock Grove”.
I have been trying to find a B-movie podcast I can promote through the site, so I’ve been listening to those to find a good fit. Most of them are male-dominated and not as tightly-produced as I’d like to recommend. Yesterday I tried, then rejected one that had extremely offensive humor right from the get-go. Currently I’m listening to a couple young(-sounding) British lads who definitely watch the kind of movies I want to be talking about, and have a great sense of humor as well. Let’s hope I’ve found a podcast I can call home!
Ralph is, of course, trying to convince me to put forth my own podcast (hardcore fans of all things Hogaboom will remember my one-off in this regard back in, I think, 2010). It sounds like a lot of work but, as I’ve had so much fun building my site and creating my “Sea Hunt” ringtones (HUGE NERD ALERT), I am nonetheless tempted!
Just in case you aren’t following/friending me on Facebook, WHY YES I wrote a massive post on Roadhouse‘s twenty-fifth anniversary. I am kind of upset you thought I’d do anything else.
Life is – good. I am still recovering from illness. Mostly I’m tired – but I have a lot of my strength back. At a volunteer commitment on Sunday I had my Ego bumped down a notch when I made a mistake – and it still smarts. I’m trying to be kind to myself. A lifetime practice.
I am a little sad, too. Today I found out that on June 14th my maternal family will be scattering my grandfather’s ashes – my last grandparent. There is no way I can afford airfare and accommodations to be there. I am saddened by this. I’d like to be there. I’d like my children to meet their extended family on that side. It’s not going to happen and I can live with this. I just need to make a little space in my heart.
In other news:
1 year since I quit smoking. Yes. Go me! Because seriously!
Life goes on. For us.
I get home in the gloaming, darker and darker earlier at the end of summer. I put the bike inside and take my dog out for an evening piss. Halfway up the block I hear the unmistakable run of a child and look up to see a glowing white shirt, blue jeans, tossed long brown hair: the neighbor boy rounding the corner, running to my home. He’s been gone a few weeks visiting his father and I can tell he came running as soon as his mama let him.
“I got here as fast as I could!” he announces with a flourish – happy, proud of himself.
“I can see that. Welcome back,” I tell him. I give him the dog’s leash and he hardly breaks stride to run to the library and find my two children. Only a few minutes later they’re outside my open kitchen window, their voices bright and breathless and excited to reunite.
Later, as in late: Ralph and I go out to Aliens (1986) at the theatre, just a handful of us in the place, eating popcorn with real butter. The movie is awesome – I’d never seen it on a big screen. I startle – quite badly – at the parts I thought I already knew, and the Director’s Cut editions. Ralph, who’s never seen the film, is placid as a lake next to me. The film is better than I remember and Ellen Ripley might be the best action hero ever. Yeah. Kind of reminds you how unimpressive, if amazingly pricey, most action films are today. #getoffmylawn