The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. After stopping by Endicott for my dad’s retirement party, I went back to work for two days, then on Tuesday night drove to Long Island. Visiting hours at the hospital were only a few hours in the afternoon, so I kept busy at their house by doing some cleaning, shopping, and printing the photos that we took at the hospital.
I would have stayed through the weekend, but my friends Becca and Ruben were getting married on Saturday back in Cambridge, so I booked it back that afternoon and just barely made it! I normally love taking photos at weddings but was just too frazzled, so unfortunately I don't have much to share. It was an absolutely lovely wedding though, which included catered pizza, Harry Potter references, and friends from multiple workplaces. I met Ruben 4 years ago at the toy store, and Becca through Ruben, but now Becca and I work together at CIC. Pur friendship must be kismet!
Since I don't have any pictures of the wedding, here are some of the Juliette prints. I went a bit wild while buying frames so that I wouldn’t have to choose which photos to feature. They're all too cute.
Another baby post!! We took some newborn photos this afternoon! And while Andy was cleaning up back at the house, Kristine and I did a photoshoot in some of the new outfits that some friends had brought over. She's so little that hair bands are way too big for her. But she'll grown into them.
My niece and goddaughter Juliette Summer Dunscombe was born on June 21, 2018 at 2:41 AM, weighing in at 6lbs, 15oz. She was born on the summer solstice, hence her middle name. I was in the waiting area during delivery by C-section and did a drawing of the doors during the procedure. After a while, Andy sent a message that Juliette was born and then I got to go in and meet her! She is the sweetest little thing. Can’t wait to hold her later today!
My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their baby to be born today! I’m at their home on Long Island taking care of the dogs and waiting anxiously for news. They are keeping the gender a surprise, so they settled on a mint green for the nursery. It looks like a post from Pinterest.
I took a walk down the the beach this afternoon to kill some time and collected some shell shards. I recently made a jingle shell mobile, and think the purple and white shells I found today could make a nice mobile too. We'll see what comes of it.
My dad officially retires next week after 34 years at our local public library. There was a gathering of staff and borrowers to celebrate, and I took some shots of the library to document the end of an era.
This weekend was pretty fun. To start, Chris woke me up with breakfast in bed, including scrambled eggs, hash browns, veggie sausage, and toast. It was hot out, but after a leisurely morning we decided to walk to Coolidge corner to visit the comic book store and Booksmith. The Pride parade was also yesterday, so it was fun to see all the celebratory outfits of people heading downtown.
On the way, we got a call from our friends Nate and Diana, who were just coming from a garage sale of a former art professor in the area, and they wanted to see if we'd like to hang out. Particularly because they got me something at the sale. We met up near the Brookline Spa and they showed us this nifty wooden art box to store oil paints in, among other little trinkets and tools.
We all drove the rest of the way to Coolidge, and spent too much money at the book stores. I got a couple new graphic novels, including “POS” and “Killing and Dying”, and a copy of Snow Crash with a new cover since the original just looks so tacky. Chris got “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward and “Hitchiker’s Guide” since I’ve never read it and he wanted a copy anyway, plus two issues of the comic Saga.
We got lunch at the Regal Beagle, and later picked up some snacks at Trader Joe’s. We drove back to the apartment, hung out on the deck, and ate chips and berries and cheese. A perfect early-summer day. After Nate and Diana left, I spent some time meticulously organizing my oil paints, even though I haven’t painted in oil in over a year. Helps to have things in their place so when I come back to it, it’s not a struggle to track things down.
This morning, Chris and I went to Cafe Nero in Brookline Village to do some quiet activities. Chris did some reading and I did some brainstorming on my illustrations/comics. It felt pretty productive. A few hours in, we noticed cops were blocking off the street. I was concerned that there was some kind of safety concern, but then realized it was Village Fair day, so there were suddenly tents and vendors and games and music everywhere. We ventured outside and wandered around, then found a relatively new record shop close to the school. We browsed for a while and found several keepers. I came home with some classic rock staples since I'm just starting to build a library: Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Chris went for both contemporary and classic, with Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca and Van Morrison’s Veeton Fleece.
While walking home, we noticed that a house that had been getting renovated for the last couple months was having an open house, so we checked it out. It was pretty astounding. Built in 1864 and selling for 3 million. 5 bathrooms and 6 bedrooms. My entire extended family could move in and not see each other every day.
When we got home, I played Abbey Road and sat with my guinea pigs. They were not fans of the bass line in “Come Together” and kept making nervous grumbling noises.
My roommate’s girlfriend is a professional baker and she made him this funfetti cake for his birthday.
Also, enjoying my new camera lens, which I picked up a couple months ago. It takes great low-lighting photos.
My plants are doing well, and now that it’s consistently warm, a lot of my indoor plants are living outside. Including my small army of baby aloe. The mama aloe just keeps having babies.
My friend Kara recommended to me an excellent collection of essays by Durga Chew-Bose last year. Her reflections on the dream of having a porch always make me think of the deck I suddenly gained access to when my landlord had it redone (because it was previously condemned and had no railing). I feel like even though I'm renting this deck month by month, I've gained "some semblance" of the mythologized porch, which Chew-Bose supposes is a place for listening to a parent's stories. (Over the last couple years I've been trying to track down family storytelling with a recorder too, even if it's just me hitting record on my phone when stories come up in conversation.)
Here's an excerpt from Too Much and Not the Mood:
“There are nights when I go to bed a little foolish and pretend the world is a disco ball and that the stars are simply reflected dots. That none of this is too dire and how the impossibility of knowing everything is an advantage. Most children grow up and plan to, at some stage, sit with a parents, a pad of paper, a voice recorder, and listen. Most children, despite good intentions, never make it happen.
Perhaps we’re waiting for our porch. We defer, defer, defer, and make excuses until we’ve won life’s ultimate lottery: the porch. The kind that wraps around. There’s something neutral about the conditions of its build: inside’s privacy, but outside, it’s an extension that stipulates the promise of delay. Imagine if our foreheads had porches jutting out from them? Maybe our brains would experience some reprieve.
On porches, conversation flows freely because silences, while weighty, aren’t strained. The faint interruption of a neighbor’s car pulling up the driveway or leaves rustling, or the benefits of a view in August, kink the air pressure that might exist between two people. A breeze jangles wind chimes and gently jolts us from ourselves. It’s harder to speak selfishly on a porch. Even when it’s hot, no one overheats. Picking a fight on a porch means you’ve missed the point entirely.
So, until then -- until the porch or some semblance of it -- we put off the pad of paper, the voice recorder. We are self-centered. We are out with friends, yet curious why. We are running late. Mentioning things in passing. Not picking up our phones. Lying on our stomachs. We are ambitious, only kind of. Obsessed to the point of --not boredom -- but reprise. We are incapable of writing a letter of condolence. We are vulnerable when it suits us. Taking aim when wearied. Clumsily articulate when expressing intense feelings, like subtitles in a foreign film. We are in the midst of, or have just inched past, our stretch. We read a book that alters us but never talk to our parents about the books that change our fabric, so instead, the weather. The rain. The snow in April.”
-Too Much and Not the Mood
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Brookline, MA.