Sunday, May 27, 2007


11:30 pm on Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend and I'm sitting in the dining room of the Urban Bungalow with Big Babe who is playing the Che Gelida Manina aria from La Boheme on his Mac, comparing different versions. It takes some doing to concentrate on writing with soaring tenor notes all around me -- not to mention the swelling violins -- but Big Babe is intent upon providing me with some music education while I attempt a humble task...catching up on the mountains of work that have dogged me throughout the holiday weekend.

Big Babe's presence in the Urban Bungalow on a Sunday night is a result of his having graduated (with distinction!) from Columbia University two weeks ago, with a degree in Literature and Philosophy. My presence here is a result of having bolted from the Summer Bungalow today at 8 pm, boarding the Shortline bus for New York City, running up 42nd Street from Port Authority to avoid the urine-soaked tunnels and taking the uptown 1 train to our stop at 116th Street so that I might conclude the remainder of the holiday weekend in a workaholic frenzy.

As I dashed from our beloved country abode, I left behind Little Babe and HOBB (Husband of Bungalow Babe) to the campfire they were building. When Little Babe called an hour ago to ask me to say Sh'ma with him, I learned that the campfire was accompanied by a Beatles sing-along with our friends Lenore, Joe, Morrie and Izzy.

Sure sounded better than being crushed inside the NYC subway with perverts, skanks, teenage mothers, tired old people whom everyone pretends not to see, pickpockets and backpacking European kids.

Now I am home in our air-conditioned Urban Bungalow in order to devote myself to project catch-up. It's been a week of worklessness, which I would LOVE if I didn't actually have work to do. This is the sucky part of having one's own business. Projects are due come Hell or Jewish holidays.

Somehow, throughout the Shavuot holiday, which we spent at Camp Morasha with half of HOBB's maternal cousins, I was able to utterly forget the work that was looming, though I spent the entire car ride to the Poconos talking and texting on my Blackberry and pissing off my family in the process.

My work amnesia blissfully held throughout Friday as we opened the Summer Bungalow for the first time and later that evening as we celebrated our first Shabbat in the Summer Bungalow, a sweet breeze wafting over our dinner table. But with the first dawning of consciousness on Saturday morning, an all-too-- familiar panic set in and held me hostage even as I went through my Shabbat activities: a Pirke Avot discussion with our friends, lunch, a Scrabble game by Walton Lake, the drive back to New York City after Shabbat to drop Little Babe at a Bat Mitzvah.

A compromise was struck: I would spend one more day in the country, biking on the Heritage Trail with Little Babe and HOBB...then hightail it back to the city to work. HOBB was annoyed yet understanding. Little Babe was sad. Big Babe was delighted.

Now we're listening to Madame Butterfly. Big Babe has provided insightful commentary while switching tracks on his iTunes. We've had a Puccini fest tonight. Rain is falling softly outside of our Amsterdam Avenue apartment and I wonder if it is also raining up in the country.

I haven't really started my work tonight, nor did I blog about my recent week-long convention in Boston or my trip to Israel to visit Middle Babe. I didn't write about my frustration at being unable to penetrate Isaac Babel's prose or my heroic commitment to finishing Dara Horn's uber-impressive (yet unenjoyable) novel, The World to Come.

I didn't deconstruct the Shavuot experience, being the only non-Orthodox Jew at Camp Morasha, which recalled my childhood as the daughter of a Conservative rabbi who was somehow educated at Orthodox schools and summer camps.

But I did learn a thing or two from Big Babe about the operas of Puccini and I know this will help me tomorrow when I dive into my work as early as possible.

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