Friday, July 17, 2009

Far and Near

Tribute in NM

Went to ABQ and saw Mom and Bro. On my flight into ABQ I sat next to a friendly Canadian who was starting a week's vac in northern NM. Told him about Los Alamos and the Jemez and Bandelier. We discussed China and climate change and it was civilized fun. My mother seems well, and my brother is okay. I hope he and I can both feel more prosperity soon. It was a good visit and included plenty of spicy food.

We went up and did the memorial service for Aunt Betty on Sunday in Santa Fe. I enjoyed the drive up and seeing cousins and so on. But it was draining. Somehow I expected it to be more schmoozy (sorry Betty), but it was definitely about grieving. I had a very awkward conversation with a woman who grew up in Paris but has lived in the U.S. since the late 60s. My mother waved me over so I could speak French and talk Paris with her. That didn’t go so well and I just clammed up. I can think of all sorts of self deprecating ways to smooth it over charmingly now. But in the moment I had nothing. Sorry, Dominique. The next day when I flew out, I found one of my younger cousins on the same flight to Denver. It was nice to talk with her, it made a good ending for me. She is one of my adorable Iranian American cousins who is working on a law degree at Cornell. I think she is going to take over the world once she’s done because she is warm, smart and disarmingly beautiful and I can’t imagine who would dare to stand in her way. Mayors will be handing over keys to cities and so forth.

So obliged

Finishing Emma was just lovely. It provided plenty of charm and delight. Emma Woodhouse as a character is attractive and attractively flawed. She is well intentioned and fairly generous and yet a sinner. She shows determination to improve herself and then laughs at her own backsliding. She is bright and mischievous and admires cutting up in others. Such a contrast to Fanny Price, an almost entirely unattractive heroine. After finishing Emma I was able to read the last chapter of Jane Austen and Food which was devoted to this book because there are more explicit food refs in it than in any other of the novels. And I do recommend Maggie Lane’s book. She ends by describing her own interpretation of the author’s meanings as open to criticism as unproblematic and too cosy. She then discusses the inequities portrayed in the book in more stark terms. I like how she shows she can whip out the social/gender critiques, just in case you thought she couldn’t. And that she is comfortable with her decision to interpret JA as prizing balance and harmony within existing hierarchies. The world of Emma Woodhouse Knightley is a lovely world indeed. If only we could all be beautiful twenty-one year old heiresses with good hearts.

I remember actress Sophie Thompson in the role of Miss Bates in the 1996 film. (I saw the first half in a San Francisco movie theater that went dark in the middle due to a power outage. Don't think I ever saw the end.) It is a wonderful part and her performance stays with me.

I hear there is a Bollywood version of the story going to go into production next spring. Don’t know how long it will take to get to theaters or whether we will hear much about it in the US. But I will be watching out for it; the title so far is Ayesha. It stars the daughter of Anil Kapoor (who will produce it) who I looked up after seeing Slumdog. He's the actor who played the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" host and I loved watching him.

Back to the real world/wreck

Got a letter yesterday from a law firm in our region. It states our mortgage holder’s rights and that they intend to collect the five months we’re overdue. It gave me a shake and I sobbed for a while. I’m going to have Nod call the HUD counseling number listed at the end. I had hoped we could be moving out of this by now. But we are stuck as fast as ever. We can’t pay them anything unless Nod generates some income. Our nest egg has dwindled. But we have enough to move if we need to. Lordy. I realize I need to do some reading on foreclosure and bankruptcy. There’s some unappetizing homework.

P.S. I'm making more chicken tikka masala this weekend.
P.P.S. to Bee: I've started Persuasion. I'm thoroughly enjoying catching up on my Austen for the summer.


Bee said...

Persuasion! My favorite.

I've been reading backwards from your latest. So sorry to hear about mortgage woes. Despite the boredom/seclusion/claustrophia of Emma's world, it is awfully nice to not have to worry about a mortgage. Our house in Houston won't sell and it is sucking up loads of cash every month. Arrgghh.

Nimble said...

Sorry to hear about the TX house. I don't have a sense of the real estate mood there.

Compared to Mansfield Park, I thought Emma was free of claustrophobia. She did what she wanted, she chose to be a homebody and coddle her father; with occasional field trips.