Tent city dismantled…

So the local government (me) finally cracked down, and the tents have been folded up and taken back to town, which is good because we were beginning to wonder when the bongos and weed were going to appear. No, not really! There’s no bongos on the Island, that’s ridiculous. We’ve had a couple of quiet days, as the Hapa Izakaya staff party was raging last night and Justin had to go back to organize and chaperone, snort. I’m sure he was a model of rectitude, snort.

I finally got a few more books read after washing all the duvets and pillows and sheets, good Christ. When the kids take duvets and pillows out to the tent, it’s nearly impossible to figure out where they all originated. And when I was done cleaning up I consented to draw for the girls. I like to do crafts but I have to watch out when I’m doing crafts “with” the girls, it’s more like working for the Medicis. They’re very exacting and demand multiple types of princess: fairy princess, mermaid princess, princess princess, Viking princess (my favourite because I can put her in a cloak and avoid drawing both hands), etc. It’s a lot of princesses, plus when I stray from their specifications they’re quick to make me erase and re-draw. Today they asked for dancing girls – not the easy-to-draw kind with many diaphanous veils, but Tango Dancer, Disco Dancer, Ballroom Dancer, Ballet Dancer….I refused. Way too many limbs to draw. I am not Da Vinci. Princesses are ok because I can put them in long dresses and not have to worry about drawing legs. So the girls did their own drawing which is good for them anyway. It’s all about practice! There’s a reason I’m good at drawing princesses; I’ve been drawing them for about 4 years now.

Back to books: Harry Bucknall’s In The Dolphin’s Wake – a travelogue about Greece. Lots of history. I wish I’d been to Greece but it’s definitely on my travel wish list now. Fairly amusing in a very low key way, and inspiring me to read Lawrence Durrell’s Spirit of Place. I didn’t care for the Alexandria Quartet when I read it but I was pretty young then and mostly scanned reputedly risque novels looking for smut (Owen Meany in John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, “One book about having sex in a foreign country is enough”), so I should probably have another look. I’m a fan of Gerald Durrell’s books, and his portrait of his brother is so hilarious it’s kind of hard to read Larry’s books without remembering his little brother’s descriptions. “Small” and “portly” are two words I remember Gerald using. Hard to live that down.

I finished Ali Wentworth’s memoir, Ali in Wonderland, in about 90 minutes. A comedian and actress, she appears quite anxious to downplay her patrician WASP background – her mother is Muffie Brandon Cabot, one of Nancy Reagan’s social secretaries, no less. (I mean, Muffie!) It’s just hard to downplay something when you talk about it as much as she does in that inverted way that says she doesn’t really care. But obviously she does, otherwise why are we making such a big deal about it? You know the kind. Constantly reminding the reader about her pedigree to say it doesn’t matter at all, she’s actually just like real folks. Except not… It’s the juxtaposition that’s meant to be amusing but after a while it gets tired. In the same way she paints herself as a real slob, but if you Google her you get an Architectural Digest article and pictures of her apartment – it’s unreal, she should charge admission! Have a look.  Oh well. She’s privileged and she knows it but she’s still keepin’ it real. Sort of! She’s is funny and lovable, and she did throw herself into the kind of lifestyle and profession that would horrify most WASP parents, or at least she did for a while. Because eventually she marries George Stephanopolous and winds up right back in the whole Beltway world! Talk about being back in your comfort zone. I like that she embraces the whole Greek thing, which is cool, especially as I hear it’s not so easy. Her mother sounds fairly awesome, but you don’t hear anything about her father, which, as the book goes on, becomes more and more of a white elephant in the room. So curious about him now! Ali needs to write a book about that, there are clearly issues of abandonment – she sees so many shrinks I want to recommend mine to her – and I think it would be a much deeper and significant book than this one which is light and fluffy. You know, fun, funny, but forgettable. I think there’s more there, but it needs to be dug up and examined. Now that would be a great book. That’s how you know her shrinks are crap, there’s not much insight and she hasn’t really been challenged to look at things in a critical way. Things never get so tough for her that she’s forced to really consider the sources of her neuroses and make real changes in her life. Because apparently when patricians have a tough time they head for the Four Seasons and camp out there a while. That kind of blew my mind. It gives you an idea of the sort of financial safety net she grew up with and takes for granted. She was at the north end of Manhattan when the south end got devastated during 9/11 and still had to go be pampered at the Four Seasons! Whoa! Reality check! I think the sort of unsparing honesty that Augusten Burroughs brings to his work would benefit Ms. Wentworth in hers. There could be a great book there, but it’s possible she’ll never venture into that territory (maybe because she wouldn’t want to annoy Muffie), which is a shame.

Now am hugging myself with pleasure as I’m starting The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James (that’s a pen name if I’ve ever heard one) and it’s promising to be  a super-fun ghost story. I love ghost stories! But I need to get going on it before the next round of guests arrives.

The weather today is beautiful! Hot but in a Pacific Northwest way, which means not really hot, but sunny, clear and with just the lightest delicious breeze. A day when you’re just so grateful to live in this part of the world.

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