The company I work for recently added another building to our Kendall Square campus; we now have five floors in the former Microsoft building. My parents and I toured it recently (read: I walked them around without knowing where I was going) and it is pretty swanky! I also enjoyed the gender neutral bathroom options and the very clear signage about this choice.
Also including a couple photos of buildings downtown, back when it was still light when I got out of work. And a photo of me as Han Solo during our office trick or treating event. Some of my friends call me Han, but I don't think many people got why I chose it because Star Wars is once again a big sensation these days. One of my roommates was also Han Solo this year and it was totally unplanned.
Another busy weekend ahead! I’m taking off tomorrow to head to New Haven to babysit Juliette. Yay baby time! Today I was really behind on a bunch of work, but we were also having an annual summer work outing/celebration, so I somehow still dropped everything and did that. I imagine my inbox on Monday will retaliate, but I think it was worth it otherwise. We all went kayaking (it was a bright, warm day for it) and then had food at a rooftop garden in Kendall Square. Also, I won a souvenir blanket form a raffle, so that was pretty great.
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
Chris and I took a walk to the Brookline Reservoir to catch the sunset. Mom and Dad visited for the weekend and we went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. We had blackberry pie and pasta primavera and during the prep I cut my knuckle with a mandoline slicer (and almost blacked out because I don't like seeing blood). But other than that last bit it was a really nice weekend. On Mother's Day my parents and I walked around different neighborhoods for several hours. The last photo is the stairs at Charles MGH. The light looked really nice.
My family always had poppyseed cake during Easter (and most other holidays, and even non-holidays, because we love poppyseed baked goods). Today my friends held a "Friendster" to celebrate the holiday/Alex and his band leaving for a month-long record release tour on Tuesday. I like the loaves better, which is what the recipe calls for, but the muffins came out alright. Kara and Alex made chicken, roasted carrots, ham, and salad, Chris made veggies and rice, and Molly provided the bubbly. I'm stuffed now.
Good luck to Kal Marks on their tour!
Molly, Alex, Kara, Chris, and I after "friendster" dinner. Chris and I each have a cold so we look like mannequins.
I didn't have my phone on me during the opening (no pockets!), so didn't get any photos from the actual opening, but here are some photos of before/after! We were in the Brookline Tab as the #2 thing to do in Brookline this weekend. Not bad! Also including my statement below. Thanks to all who attended and came out to support local Brookline artists!
Artist Statement from Exhibition
The drawings and paintings collected here speak to the vulnerability, hope, energy, and rituals found in everyday family life, especially in young families. In most of my compositions, the parents are off to the side, or in the background, guiding the children, sheltering them, reading the paper, making sure everything is well. They are not the center of attention, and not engaging in anything exciting.
As I get older, I find myself relating more to the parents than the children in my drawings and paintings, even though I’ve only ever played the role of the latter. I think about how my parents did this for my brother and I when we were children, after years of shabby apartments and piecing together their rent. They bought a house near a park. They bought us new shoes every year that we wore on walks to the park. They bundled us up in hats and snow pants and pulled us on sleds. They brought home books from the library so they could read to us every night. There is a lot of selflessness there, to raise a child into an adult, but the children must figure out where to go from there. Meanwhile, the children I draw are playing, exploring, and being comforted. Drawing the parent/child dynamic allows me to meditate on the different roles that we play throughout childhood and into adulthood and parenthood.
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Brookline, MA.