April 2017

Dad’s funeral

People have been asking, “How was it?” It’s hard to know how to answer about a funeral, because the usual response to that kind of question is a bright, nodding “Really nice, thanks!” But it was actually really nice. Someone said it was noticeable how there was no friction or  “oh, you know how he could be…” or “well, we had our issues but…” Everyone there had the same thing to say about him, which was: what a good guy. And then we went back to a friend’s house to drink beer and tell stories. It wasn’t what I would call a FUN event but it was pleasurable to spend time with people who knew my dad when he was younger, and to get a fuller picture of his life than you get from inside the child-parent relationship. Also actually it was sometimes fun, there were lots of jokes and great stories.


Portland has changed! It changes every time I go back. Mostly because people keep moving there. I ideologically support and advocate for free movement of people, except in this one specific case because Portland is MY TOWN and dammit it WILL be preserved as the scruffy, dodgy, overlooked city it was when I was growing up there before all these OTHER PEOPLE found out about it. You’re not even from Portland Fred Armisen!!! It’s still mostly excellent but I feel like it’s spiffing up in a way that isn’t coming from itself, it’s something people are bringing to it and imposing on it, and it’s understandable but a bit sad. (Although in many ways it is still extremely Portland. A friend: “I should note that the steak house is also a strip club.”)

Books (other people’s)

Someone I now hate pointed me to this article about how many books you have time to read before you die, statistically speaking, and I have been in a mild screaming panic ever since (separate from the mild screaming panic in response to everything in general). Since then I’ve been reading much more than usual: no time like the present to start tearing through the best of world literature! Tick tock! And another friend had recommended a fun, light book for the plane back to Portland, that was maybe a bit “twee” but would be a pleasant, uncomplicated read: it was about two sisters who live together in a very old house, with someone else – their stepmother? father? uncle? – and it’s narrated by the younger sister, who’s a teenager but a bit precocious, and the title is about a castle: “Something Something The Castle”?

“Any page now this will get twee,” I told myself halfway through We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Shirley Jackson: famously whimsical!), resolutely reading on as the SPOILER and the creepy SPOILER and the house SPOILERS SPOILER and the unpleasant cousin SPOILERS and the sisters SPOILER forever in the mouldering remains of their torched-out SPOILER. It was actually a bit great reading a horror story with the blithe expectation that it would be a completely different genre – I would recommend it if you can (maybe get a friend to lie to you?).

I am now reading the book my friend meant to recommend, but can’t shake the expectation that Cassandra Mortmain is about to poison everyone with the table sugar.

Books (mine)

I want to hammer my own fingers off but understand this is normal.

Asparagus and rhubarb

Is this the happiest month of food being in season in Britain? It may be!

2 thoughts on “April 2017

  1. So sorry about your dad, but I hope people have nothing but nice things to say about me at my funeral. Something to strive for– along with reading as many books as my lifetime will allow!!!

  2. thebritishberliner says:

    I'm sorry for your loss but glad that you were able to bear it surrounded by people who knew and loved your dad. And most importantly, were able to talk about him, tell stories and laugh over the good times.

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