Posts Tagged ‘Rob’

My recording set-up

The hallwayI’ll start by saying that our recording setup is far, far, far from ideal, especially after working at Willamette Radio Workshop.But, it’s New York and one makes compromises. In this case, trying to get my schedule to coincide with an affordable studio was challenging. So I’m recording in the hallway at home. The sound, as you might imagine is very bright. The Japanese screen mostly holds the microphone and does almost nothing to dampen the sound.

Schoeps CMC-41s microphoneI’m using one of Rob’s microphones, specifically a Schoeps CMC-41S. The note next to it reminds me to turn the refrigerator off before I start recording and to turn it back on when I finish. Last week, before we implemented the note, I came home to find the contents of our freezer melted. The microphone is sensitive enough that it picks up the hum of the fridge, even though it is in another room. Granted, there’s no door on the room, but still.

Amp and my computerIn the living room, behind a closed door, we’ve got my computer and a Shure FP-33 portable mixer. The mixer functions mainly as a power supply for the microphone but also boosts the signal some to provide cleaner sound. Or, at least, I think that’s what Rob said when I asked.

Friends from Portland

Our friend -e- has come into town with her daughter -r-. I must say that eight year old -r- is all that is delightful in a child. She is charming, well-mannered and can amuse herself. I met them on Thursday at the Natural History museum which was, oddly, the first time I’d been in. Though I shouldn’t need to state it, whales are big.

After the museum, we wandered in Central Park for a while. The weather was unbelievable after a season of gray, winter blahs. Warm, with flowers blooming everywhere, it felt like Spring had truly arrived.

In the middle of the lake, a mass of turtles crowded on the only available rock to sun themselves. It was like watching New York’s housing crisis repeat in the animal kingdom.

Compliments from a winemaker

When one’s husband is a winemaker, one sometimes receives compliments in the following manner.

Rob: It’s maturity. The tannins are falling out.
Me: As long as I don’t become flabby. ((This is an actual wine term))
Rob: No, I think you still have structure.

The Braves game

Now, it should be obvious that I’m not really a sports scene sort of person. That said, if there’s a sport I enjoy, it’s baseball and the Braves are the only team that I’ve ever seriously followed. So I was not dreading going to see the game with Katherine. I called around, found a place that would have the game on and we headed down.

We all, including Katherine, agreed that Blondies was a ruthlessly unpleasant experience.

Food? My vegetarian chili was fine. The caesar salad was so watery as to be almost inedible. I mean, yes, wash the lettuce, but then at least drain it. Rob’s fries and garden burger also seemed fine. Katherine’s buffalo wings? She couldn’t even finish them because they were “slimy” and “gross.” This is a girl who loooooves buffalo wings. The fat and skin to meat content was apparently on the wrong end of the spectrum.

Atmosphere? Frigid. We had to wear our coats the whole time.

Music? Deafening. I mean, Rob put in ear plugs. I actually had my fingers in my ears at one point because it was nightclub loud. Not a nightclub. Sportsbar. I finally asked one of the waitresses if they could turn the music down a little.

She said, “It’s really hard to turn music down in a bar. Where are you from?”

“I live in New York.”

“Oh. Well, it’s really hard to turn music down.”

Right… funny thing. From my time waiting tables if a customer asks you to turn the music down, you turn it down. Now, she did briefly turn it down. For one song. Then she turned it back up, louder, so she could dance in the back to it. I kid you not.

When the Braves tied the Nationals at the top of the ninth, I was not happy. I should have been rooting for the Braves but all I could think was that now we were going to be stuck there for another inning and that I would have to kill someone.

The Nationals won, without going to extra innings. Katherine was sad, but we were all grateful to get out of that joint.

Oh, and the ladies bathroom? Gross. Truck stop level grossness.

What is a fever like for you?

It looks like the fever has finally broken. Whew.

Let me ask you this, because Rob says it doesn’t happen to him and I’ve just always assumed it was a normal part of getting a fever. My skin gets really sensitive, like all the nerve endings have been chafed and are jangling. I can’t stand to have anything rub across because the friction is too much. The best way I could describe it to him, and this isn’t exactly right, is when you have a mild sunburn and can feel every fiber in the clothes you are wearing. Does that happen to you?

My joints ache and my skin gets sensitive. Chills are standard, but does anyone else get the other stuff?

And yes, thank you, I am feeling much better. I still have very little appetite, a cough, fatigue but hey– at least I know I’ve gotten enough sleep this week. Finally.

Oscar night

We just got home from the Oscar party at Jodi and Sam’s. It’s an annual affair with them and quite the soirée. This year was a little odd for me. Somehow, I managed to miss seeing all but two of the films on the awards tonight. I saw Golden Compass and Sweeney Todd. That’s it.

As such, my only relevant reactions are going to be to dresses — no good standouts this year — and the best effects Oscar. Seriously? People thought the Golden Compass effects were better than Pirates of the Caribbean? That’s just crazy. I mean people have been doing talking animals more convincingly since Babe. I was seriously annoyed through most of Golden Compass because I just couldn’t believe the animals.

Buying a couch should be simple

For the past week and a half I have looked at every sofa on Craig’s List plus visiting live stores looking for “the” sofa for the production I’m doing props for. Some things I have learned.

  • There are more ugly couches than attractive ones.
  • Brown couches tend to be leather.
  • There are a lot of ugly couches.
  • Moving a couch can triple the price.

Last week Rob and I picked up a $50 couch that we hoped would be “the” couch for the show. It was battered, already had an iron mark burned into the arm. It seemed perfect for an extremely poor bachelor’s apartment.

It was too long.

So, I started looking again. Today, I found one that the designer “loved, loved, loved.” The catch? I had to buy it today. Gah! So I took the train out to Queens to look at it.

This was, by far, the longest amount of time I’ve spent underground since coming to New York and perhaps ever. I think it took me two and a half hours to get there on three trains. No, four trains. One train had interupted service so I had to take an express past the point I wanted to be and then double back to transfer.

I arrive. The man I was supposed to meet is gone but his mother is there. Unfortunately, she speaks Russian and has about as much English as I have Mandarin.

I point. “Sofa?”

Her face brightens. “Sofa!” And then she calls her son. He talks to me, asks me to hand the phone back to his mother and he translates. She says something and then hands the phone back. He translates again. This goes for a couple of cycles.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking that the sofa looks too big. He’d said it was about 6′ but it looks bigger. I foolishly forgot to bring the tape measure, so I use a sheet of paper to estimate the size. Looks like it’s over 7′. The director wants 6’4″.

I call the designer and explain.

He says, “Are you sure?”

I say, “Pretty sure but I was estimating. Hey– there’s a hardware store in front of me, want me to get a tape measure and go back?”

“Could you?”

So I go back and attempt to explain to the mother. She sees the tape measure and seems to understand. I check and the sofa is 7’2″. I sigh and pantomime that it is too big. She looks heartbroken.

The son had said that they were moving tomorrow.

I leave, call the designer and report.

“7 foot 2?” he says. “How deep is it?”

I’m caught off guard. I was expecting us to be sad that it was the wrong size and then have to keep looking. “I’m not sure. Do you want me to go back?”

He says yes, so I do, trying to figure out how to explain to the mother why I’m back. I ring the bell and a man answers the door. Hallelujah, he speaks English! I measure, talk to the designer who looks at the ground plan and declares that the sofa will fit. Yay!

Because, I’ll tell you, if I had taken that subway ride out for no reason…

The ride back only took an hour and a half.

Picking up the couch

Today I turned in a postcard design, built a set piece for one show, and picked up, delivered, and cleaned a couch for another show. I’m, once again, working on two — no wait — three shows at once. My posts this week may be scarce.

But I wanted to say how deeply grateful I am for all the comments on my Childfree post. I feel very, very supported and loved. Many thanks.


Some time ago, Rob and I made the decision not to have children. I am blogging about it now because, having just had my thirty-ninth birthday, I was chided by people saying some variant on, “You’d better get busy.” Honestly, the pressure to have children from friends and family gets quite wearing. These are people who love me and think that they know what’s best for me. Presumably, they love me because they think that I’m an intelligent person, but they don’t seem willing to accept that yes, I have actually thought through all of this. I understand the consequences of this choice.

It took two years for us to reach this decision.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t an easy one. I’ve never been a girl who has craved babies, though I went through a phase when I was fascinated by pregnancy. That said, I’ve always assumed that I would have children because I come from a very loving and extended family. Of course, it was only natural that I would contribute a branch to the family tree and pass on things. Some of them were ephemeral like Robinette, my middle name, and some were tangible, like my great-grandfather’s bedroom suite.

But when I spend time around friends’ children, even charming ones, there is always a sense of relief when I leave. Yes. I’ve heard that it’s different when they are your own. But what isn’t different is that your time no longer belongs to you. It’s not like having a cat or a dog; a child is forever.

So, coming into our marriage, I was ambivalent about having children. I thought I would want them later, but I didn’t want them then. Rob came into our marriage not wanting children. He was “adamant” that he did not want children, but said that his position might change. It seemed like opposite sides of the same place. We agreed to wait three to five years before discussing children any further.

Now, here is the only piece of misunderstanding in our communication. I took “I don’t want children” to mean, “I do not desire children,” while he meant, “I actively desire to be childless.” One is negotiable. The other is not. He, on the other hand, knew that I might change my mind and was willing to marry me anyway.

If you’ve been reading my journal for any length of time, you know how much I love my husband. He is, quite simply, the best thing that has ever happened to me. Given a choice between having children and having Rob, there was no choice. Sure, I could have insisted. We talked about different scenarios that would fulfill the urge I felt for children while preserving as much of his desire for a childless state as possible. We both knew, however, that these were fantasies. I was looking at taking a really solid marriage and putting a great deal of stress on it for a possibility. The thing with deciding to have kids is that you don’t know who you’ll get. It’s not like picking a pet out at the store; you may get a kid who is severely troubled or is perfect and wonderful. You just don’t know. It’s a gamble. For me, for us, that gamble wasn’t worth the risk.

There are so many children in the world already, too many for the planet to handle, that I think both partners have to want the child to justify bringing it into the world.

Are there things I will regret? Of course.

I will regret never knowing pregnancy. That I’m sure of. I’m afraid of being lonely when I’m old. I love my parents, and I’ll miss being on the other side of that relationship.

But at the end, weighing all the possible regrets and maybes, the thing I am most sure of is that I am not willing to give up Rob for a person who doesn’t exist. There are other reasons, just dealing with myself and a selfish desire to control my own lifestyle, but the big one is that I wasn’t willing to chance destroying something wonderful.

Most of the things I’m afraid of are things that are within my control. I am taking active steps now to develop connections with people in the next generation. I’m trying to become more involved in the life of my nieces and nephew. I’m finding other ways to leave a legacy besides my genes.

And here’s the big thing I want you to understand — I went through a rough period when we were making the choice, but once it was made… I really didn’t realize how much pressure I was putting on myself to procreate until it was gone. If you have a friend who is childless, don’t second guess them. Don’t assume that someone has to have kids to be happy. And please, please, don’t put pressure on them, even by implication.

You may not intend it, but it’s just mean. It’s hard to buck the social and biological pressure to have children. If someone makes that choice, do them the courtesy of accepting that it is the right choice for them. That’s all I ask. I’m happy. Those of you with children may think that I’m a fool, but I’m a happy fool.

Edited to add: I wanted to point out karindira’s very thoughtful post on the question of childless women from the side of motherhood.

Dinner with David Autrey

Our friend David Autrey, of Westrey Wine, was in town selling his wares for the past week. I had not realized exactly how much I missed the wine geek conversations that were so much a part of our life in Portland. David is what we call a serious techno-wine geek. He can not only tell you the flavor profile of what you are tasting, but also the chemicals that cause it as well as the conditions during the life of the grape that contribute to the various compounds. Besides all that, he majored in philosophy at Reed, so the conversation is always, always stimulating.

He stayed with us for two nights and took us out to dinner tonight at Jean-Georges. I think we all agreed that the food was well-crafted, but not inspiring. By that I mean that everything was exquisitely cooked, but that the recipes were uneven. We had a tuna tartare that was probably divine, if it weren’t over-sauced with Thai Ginger. Even so, it was a delightful meal. We had two wines that were exquisite — I’ll get the names from Rob tomorrow.

The Scottish Play

One of the things Mom had wanted to do while she and Dad were here was see some theater. So, her birthday present to me was to take us all out to see Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart. When we realized that we had two tickets available, Rob and I invited Rick Bowes and Emily DeCola to accompany us.

All of us agreed that this was the best production of Macbeth we’d ever seen. Start with a good strong cast. Then, my god, give them a production design that is about as close to perfect as anything I’ve seen. Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s sharpest plays and this dives right in and cuts.

It’s hard to explain why it’s so good, without spoiling some surprises for people who are planning on seeing this production. So — don’t click on the cut if you don’t want to know. Before I get all private on you…

Thank you Mom and Dad!!!

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My birthday was a splendid day

Konjoined KittySince my plans with the folks were out, I decided to throw an impromptu party. I was figuring it would be a small turnout, you know, what with last minute notice for a Friday night. To my pleasant surprise, close to twenty people came round. We opened some interesting wines, had hors d’ouerves, ordered Chinese. Oh and cake.

AND a friend from Iceland was in town on business. A mutual friend told her about the party and brought her along to surprise me. Such happiness!

Mom and Dad called today too. Dad sounds like he’s in good spirits. On the other hand, I could clearly hear that they made the right choice to stay in Tennessee.

I also got a package from Mom and Pop K in the mail which contained, among other goodies, some of her world-famous cookies. Mmm… I’m not sharing those. Which reminds me that I have to hide them from Rob.

And I also got a Konjoined Kitty, lovingly created by Michael Schupbach. This is very cool, not only because it is adorable, but because I got to see him work through the process of developing the idea, creating it and now he’s marketing them. And I have one of my very own. Soft, cute and disturbing. What more could you ask for in a pillow/toy?