Tuesday, January 19, 2010

musings from santaland

what kind of childhood experiences lead a person to grow up and follow the path of professional santa?

not all santas take it seriously, often it's just a job that comes up for a few months every year... but not my santa.

the first few weeks after thanksgiving, we had children arrive in short bursts, with lots of spare time for coffee runs and chats with st.nick. it never ceased to be fascinating, watching a cantankerous old man making snarky comments to us and overheating in a vermillion suit suddenly become that jolly red cheeked man that haddon sundbloom painted into history on every coca cola can in the 1950's. he was santa clause, and bells on the roof, and gingerbread smells, and presents under the tree, and christmas lights, and he was Magnificent. reaching forward to take chubby little hands into his cheap white gloves, i was always humbled as i watched the children see past the worn costume and pretend leather boots to the crinkles at the corner of his wintery blue eyes the looked out over his wire frame glasses perched at the end of his pink nose and see the magic hiding within his earthly body. his ability to guess the children's ages accuratley as they stumbled, giggled, bounced, ran up to him was impeccable.

santa has a similar bizarre effect on grown ups too, coming to us through the touch and go of the masses. old broken men wandering through the mall came to tell my santa about their surgeries and survival, old women came out of the woodwork to flirt, and to sing to him, to make him bear witness to their age and the generations they gave birth to, adults found themselves confessing, touching, laughing to this crotchety old man from colorado.

he's magic.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

sometimes, we get lucky. sometimes everything is ok.

Walking through the crumbling museum district today, on a crazed search for coffee in perfect temperatures and golden sunlight filtering through the lush growth of monument avenue... I've found the best cup of coffee in Richmond, at a weird, shifty corner, across from a 7-11. Nothing makes one's day better than being handed a beautiful cup of coffee with a delicate creamy foam flower floating on it in perfect shades of pale mocha and rich browns. I forgot to worry about the dingy atmosphere, cause it took me back to a memory much preferred:

I was in the young professional quarter of Washington D.C. a few months ago, on a road trip from LBI to Richmond, crashing overnight with a friend and her roommates. She doesn't shave anything, doesn't feel the need to, wears loose fitting thrift store finds, and has an obvious chest tattoo that escapes delicately out of her shirt. Everyday she rides her bike to work at a government office dealing with green design and environmental technology... I think she edits descriptions of the stuff that goes on, or something along those lines. She is hysterical, and it excites me to no end that our government is becoming progressive enough to accept nontraditional individuals into their workforce. She directed me and my travel buddy to a coffeehouse on our way out of town, before she pedaled off into the morning fog. We pulled up to a shack. A shack where we were heckled by a homeless person across the street as we walked up warped boards through a door... And it was heaven inside. An ocean of warm, shining mahogany flooded with morning sun, large white coffee cups all with intricate floating designs atop fresh brewed espresso. And we were the only ones there who weren't sporting a security badge on our hips. What a seductive, titillating atmosphere.

On my walk back to the apartment in Richmond, I walked past a jam session of the jazz kind, pouring out of an ancient row house, took a breath, smiled into my coffee and felt like all was right in my world.

let the sun shine in.

meet dudley and lucky. Two of the most spoiled, adorable and slightly annoying in a good hearted way dogs being raised in the west end. we very much appreciated spending a week in their multi million dollar house with them while their owners were away.

I absolutley loved lucky's long legs, but when the munchkin, dudley chose to roll around in slow motion on the carpet, in the sunshine... i couldn't help pulling out my new camera and snapping some glamour shots. in most of these pics, dudley looks like a muscular little badass, but in truth he has a droopy little whiner that liked to steal dirty underwear and chew the crotches out.

Santa was very against the idea of pets. he told me a story once of the neighborhood cat man at his home in colorado, and how all of his cats started using the sandbox he built for his very young grandson as a gigantic littlerbox. what did he do? he set up huge lobster traps and drove into the mountains and deposited all of the cats in the wilderness. when the catman came by looking for his cats, santa just shrugged his shoulders and told him to start keeping them in the house.