Tuesday, December 15, 2015
I Skyped with my mom in Florida last night for the first time since her recent major life changes -- selling our family home and moving to an apartment in a senior community in Jacksonville. The house sale closed last month, but she was incommunicado for a while because she had to get settled into the new place and have her Internet connected. We'd traded a few e-mails, but while she's quite conversational, my mom is almost comically taciturn in writing -- prone to answering questions with one, two or three-word responses. So it was good to actually talk to her, even though I'll be seeing her in just ten days.
However, we had a terrible Skype connection -- the worst I've ever experienced. I think it was a combination of my creaky computer, our weak broadband signal and iffy Internet on her end. We got bumped offline so often I thought we'd have to give up, and then I remembered that Dave uses his iPad to Skype. So I grabbed that and we managed to talk for about an hour more, though we had to reconnect once and we didn't use the video option. Which is fine, because I was in my bathrobe.
I guess the Universe was sending me yet another sign that it's time to get a new computer.
Yesterday a guy came into school to give a TED talk in the library. I got to hear bits and pieces -- something about "pushing the edge of innovation" and being "in the idea space." I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but in all honesty I was also trying to check out books and computer chargers and keep the kids in the next room quiet. I wasn't focused enough to be in the idea space. Everyone acted very impressed at the end, but being my journalistically skeptical self, I wondered whether the Emperor had any clothes.
Continuing my recent photobook fetish, I bought a copy of Robert Frank's "The Americans," originally published in the mid-'50s. During several cross-country road trips, Frank took a, well, frank look at America and published a book that questioned the glossy advertisements and Pepsodent smiles so common in popular culture at that time. It's a surprisingly diverse book, with blacks and Orthodox Jews and others who may not have seen themselves much in the media during the white-bread fifties. And it has an introductory essay by Jack Kerouac, which I haven't had a chance to read yet. Now I really must stop buying photobooks. At least for the time being.
(Photo: Leaves on Hampstead Heath, on Sunday.)